Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, and Others (LGBTQ+)

LGBTQ+ include individuals who have a sexual orientation (i.e., enduring set of physical and emotional attractions) toward members of the same-sex (e.g., lesbian, gay, bisexual) and individuals with a gender identity (i.e., enduring internal sense of being a man, a woman, or neither) which is different than their sex assigned at birth (American Psychological Association, 2008). The term LGBTQ+ also encompasses identities which transcend traditional binary views of romantic attraction (e.g., asexual, polyamorous, pansexual, etc.) and gender (e.g., gender-queer, bigender, agender, etc.), and identities represented by the queer plus (i.e., Q+) portion of the acronym (Bornstein, 1998; Wilchins, 2002).

LGBTQ+ individuals make up an estimated 4% of the US population and 2% of North Dakota’s population (Gates, 2011). Despite medical and psychological research demonstrating the normalcy of these identities and expression (American Psychological Association et al., 2015; Swaab & Garcia-Falgueras, 2009); the LGBTQ+ community experiences higher rates of discrimination than the general public.

Rates of Suicide in the LGBTQ+ Population

 

The LGBTQ+ population experiences higher rates of suicide than most other populations. Existing empirical literature indicates that LGB youth are 3.4 times more likely to make a suicide attempt than their non-LGBTQ+ peers. Transgender individuals are 10 times more likely to make a suicide attempt than the general population (Clements-Nolle, Marx, & Katz, 2006; Grossman & D’augelli, 2006; Haas, Rodgers, & Herman, 2014). Even more disturbing, homeless LGBTQ+ youth (40% of homeless population) report incredibly high rates of suicide attempts (62%) when compared with their straight peers (29%; (Haas et al., 2010)

Ways to Increase Protective Factors

Suicide Warning Signs and Risk Factors

Any statements or behaviors suggesting suicidal thoughts or actions should be taken seriously. Ask directly about suicide and dial 7-800-273-TALK for immediate assistance from local crisis workers. 

 Information adapted from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, American Association of Suicidology.