Trans data ‘alarming’
Report shows trans youth face high risk of suicide
Transgender youth need access to inclusive health care in Alberta and supportive school environments to mitigate significant mental health concerns, according to new research from several Canadian universities.
The Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey, released Wednesday, found thirty-eight per cent of the older youth surveyed (114 trans youth aged 14 to 25 in Alberta responded) had attempted suicide in their lifetime and more than 63 per cent reported they have had serious thoughts of suicide.
The data also showed 73 per cent of the youth reported selfharm in the past year.
The survey was conducted across Canada but provincespecific reports were compiled.
Dr. Kris Wells, assistant professor and faculty director for the University of Alberta’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services who co-authored the report, said to the best of his knowledge, it’s the first Albertaspecific set of data about transgender youth.
“The findings are alarming and disturbing,” Wells said. “We’ve shown there is evidence that more inclusive actions need to take place.”
The report made several recommendations, including that schools work proactively with trans youth, their parents, community leaders and professionals to develop inclusive and supportive school policies — gay-straight alliances (GSAs) included.
Wells said the report underscores that GSAs are needed in all Alberta schools.
“It provides the hard data to move forward with changing our legislation to be more inclusive and increase supports for a very vulnerable population,” Wells said.
Last month, Education Minister David Eggen said he will be introducing legislation to make it illegal to ‘out’ students who join GSAs.
The report also recommended more outreach and professional supports for families be developed to help them understand and support their trans children, and to help trans youth feel safe at home.
Angela Reid raises the transgender pride flag with MLA Michael Connelly on Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2016.