Jan 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Poll: Most LGBTQ kids' mental health negatively impacted by anti-trans legislation

How have recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people impacted your mental health?
Data: The Trevor Project; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Over two-thirds of LGBTQ youth said recent debates over state laws that target transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health, a new poll released Monday by the Trevor Project shows.

Why it matters: 2021 saw a record number of anti-trans bills introduced in state legislatures — many specifically focused on trans youth — and experts already expect a similar wave of bills in 2022.

  • The Trevor Project is an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth under 25.

What we're watching: Just days into the 2022 legislative session, bills have been introduced in six states — Missouri, Indiana, Arizona, South Carolina, Kentucky and South Dakota — that would "prohibit access to sports for trans and non binary youth," Casey Pick, senior fellow for advocacy and government affairs for the Trevor Project, told Axios.

  • In three other states — Alabama, Arizona and Ohio — other pieces of legislation that have been filed "would ban doctors for providing best practice health care for trans and non-binary youth," Pick added.
  • Anti-trans legislation was signed into law in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee.
  • Doctors have worried about a looming mental health crisis among transgender kids, due in large part to the number of states seeking to outlaw gender-affirming health care.

By the numbers: Seven in 10 LGBTQ youth said they regularly follow news related to the issues that impact the trans community, and as a result:

  • 66% of all LGBTQ young people polled said their mental health had been negatively affected by recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people.
  • The impact is even greater among trans and non-binary youth: 85% of those polled — four in five of this group — said their mental health had been negatively affected.

When asked about what is the most important issue affecting the world, most LGBTQ youth stated racism, followed by LGBTQ rights/equality, climate change and homophobia.

  • Yes, but: Most poll respondents said that anti-LGBTQ hate crimes (80%) and homophobia (81%) were the issues that cause them the most stress and anxiety.

What they're saying: "These results underscore how recent politics and ongoing crises facing the globe can have a real, negative impact on LGBTQ young people, a group consistently found to be at significantly increased risk for depression, anxiety and attempting suicide because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society," Amit Paley, CEO of The Trevor Project, said in a statement.

Methodology: 820 LGBTQ youth ages 13–24, including 318 transgender and nonbinary youth and 340 LGBTQ youth of color, surveyed online from Sept. 14-Nov. 5.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free and confidential support for anyone in distress, in addition to prevention and crisis resources. Also available for online chat.

Go deeper: 2021 sees a record number of bills targeting trans youth

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