Suicide rates in LGBTQ+ teens drop

Ashley Shepard, Staff Writer

June 26th 2015 was a monumental day for love. According to the American Association of Suicidology, prior to gay marriage being legalized, 42.8% of LGTBQ+ (lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, queer) teens and youth considered suicide, 38.2% made a suicide plan, 29.4% attempted suicide, and 9.4% made a suicide attempt that required attention from a medical professional. The difference in heterosexual suicide and the LGBTQ+ suicide statistics are astounding. Since gay marriage was legalized in the supreme court case, Obergefell vs. Hodges, suicide rates in LGBTQ+ teens and youth has significantly dropped according to recent research.

One of the main contributors to this research was Julia Raifman of Johns Hopkins University. The research shows a link between the implementation of legislation and decline of LGBTQ+ suicide rates. This resulted in the decreasing of LGBTQ+ suicide rates by an average of 7%. The impact was even more significant in lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens resulting in a 14% drop of suicide rates. According to the US Center for Disease and Prevention Center(CDC), suicide is the second highest cause of death for people between 15 and 24. These numbers are significantly higher for those that identify as sexual minorities than heterosexuals.

The suicide rate among teens identifying as sexual minorities shows a public health emergency. The LGBTQ+ youth are increasingly more vulnerable to parental rejection, bullying and harassment at school, and lack of social support. What society can take away from this research and what we know from hearing from LGBTQ+ teens, is that the convergence of a supportive family, a safe and embracing school, legal protections, and being equal in the eyes of the law can provide the basis and support necessary to thrive into adulthood.