Trans Community Faces More Mental Health Issues

Support / A candlelight vigil was held for Tyler Clementi, who killed himself after harassment over his sexuality / Kevin R. Wexler / MCT

Suicide rates are higher among the transgender community studies reveal

By Joanna Meza

Members of the transgender community are 40 times more likely to commit suicide than their straight counterparts, according to a survey.

“A lot of the time they feel as if they are not free because they have to conform to society’s norms,” said Long Quach, a therapist at Santa Ana College.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality conducted the survey with the feedback of about 7,000 respondents.

Quach said there are many factors contributing to transgender people feeling alone or depressed.

Teens and those in their 20s typically seek out their family’s approval, said Communications Professor Lance Lockwood.

Lockwood is part of the Safe Space program, which works to provide a safe environment for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

As a gay man Lockwood is a part of the community and councils students, many of whom have been or are at risk of suicide, he said.

“I think [for] anybody in that community it has crossed our minds, especially in our youth,” he said.

In late December, for example, a 17-year-old transgender in Ohio, Leelah Alcorn, committed suicide.

In a note she left behind she described the negative reaction her parents had toward who she was.

“I had family members tell me that I would regret it later on,” Kyle Cabral said.

Cabral, an Orange County resident, began his transition last April.

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“Before I came out, I would be really angry because no matter what I did to try and conform, I couldn’t. I felt trapped. I was always sad because I didn’t know how to feel like myself,” he said.

Now with the support of friends and certain family members Cabral feels at a better place in his life.

“I’m happier than I’ve ever been.”


Resources At A Glance:
The Center OC: Provides support groups and youth programs for the LGBT community.
Crisis Prevention: Provides 24-hour suicide prevention services. (877) 727-4747
Youth Talk LINE: Peer talk line for LGBT youth. Open Monday through Saturday. (800) 246-PRIDE
lgbt hate crimes: Hotline for victims and people who have witnessed hate crimes.(800) 686-HATE