Calling Trans Teens By Their Preferred Name Can Reduce Suicide Rates

A new study by the University of Texas has found that trans youths being allowed to use their chosen name leads to a significant drop in their risk of suicide and depression.

In shocking new research done by a team at The University of Texas it found when transgender youths are allowed to use their chosen name and not their birth name in places like work, school or at home their risk of depression and suicide drops significantly. 

When a transgender youth chooses a new name it is a significant milestone in their life. It is important, the study shows, that friends, family and workmates use their new chosen name. 

For the youths that changed their name from the one given at birth being called by their new chosen name has been shown to reduce depression and overall suicide rates. The biggest reduction noted was where trans youths were acknowledged by their chosen name in all aspects of their lives- at home, work, school and among family and friends. 

Sadly, transgender youths are at a significantly higher risk of depression and suicide. A recent study in The American Foundation for the prevention of suicide found a shocking 41% of transgender youths have attempted suicide compared to 4.6% of the general population. 

Calling transgender youths by their birth name has shown to be a painful reminder for some of how society is not always welcoming or understanding of trans individuals or their chosen identities.

Group of people looking at a computer.
The biggest reduction noted was where trans youths were acknowledged by their chosen name in all aspects of their lives- at home, work, school and among family and friends.

Transgender youths through another study were shockingly shown to have suicidal thoughts at nearly twice the rate of their classmates, with about 1 out of 3 transgender youths reporting considering suicide.  

In the new study, having even one context in which their chosen name could be used was associated with a 29 % decrease in suicidal thoughts.  

“I’ve been doing research on LGBT youth for almost 20 years now, and even I was surprised by how clear that link was,” Russell said. 

The study interviewed 129 transgender youth in three separate cities, transgender youths are estimated to be only 1% of the population and therefore difficult to reach, so the research team worked with community organizations serving LGBT youths and other venues to reach as diverse a population of transgender youths as possible. 

Because many names are usually associated with one or other gender, recognising and allowing transgender youths to use a chosen name is one small step that schools, hospitals, workplaces etc can use to help these young people be respected and supported with their gender identity. 

“It’s practical to support young people in using the name that they choose,” Russell said. “It’s respectful and developmentally appropriate.” 

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article and need to talk, please contact: 

  • The LGBT Helpline 01 6859280 (Emergency Hotline 1890 929 539)
  • Pieta House 1800 247247 or email [email protected] – (available 24/7)
  • Samaritans 116 123 or email [email protected] (available 24/7)
  • Aware 1800 804848 (depression, anxiety)
  • Childline 1800 666666 (for under 18s, available 24/7)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)

Laura Doyle

Mum of four, Gentle parent living on coffee and trying always to stay positive and motivate in the midst of the madness.

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