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Nation & World

Nearly 9 in 10 trans youth say recent wave of anti-LGBTQ policies negatively affected their mental health, poll says

Jodi Womack holds a sign that reads "We Love Our Trans Youth" during a rally at the Alabama State House to draw attention to anti-transgender legislation introduced in Alabama on March 30, 2021 in Montgomery, Alabama. There are so far 192 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the United States. Of those, 93 directly target transgender people.

The recent explosion in anti-LGBTQ rhetoric across the country is dramatically affecting LGBTQ youth — especially transgender and nonbinary kids and young adults — according to a poll released Thursday.

An overwhelming majority of queer and transgender youth in the U.S. say the growing number of policies restricting their rights have negatively impacted their mental health, leading to feelings of anxiety, fear, sadness and stress, the poll found.

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A record number of anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced across state legislatures in 2022 — more than 220 — according to The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ and questioning youth.

Late last year, researchers with the organization spoke with a national sample of 716 LGBTQ young people, ages 13 to 24, to gauge how the policies have affected their mental well-being.

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They found 71% of LGBTQ youth said they were negatively impacted by the flurry of anti-LGBTQ bills across the country, while 27% said their mental health was affected “very negatively.”

Some 86% of trans youth — nearly nine in 10 — said their mental health was negatively affected, with 55% reporting being affected “very negatively.”

Forty-five percent of trans youth reported being victims of cyberbullying last year, while 29% reported not feeling safe to go to the doctor or hospital when they were sick or injured.

So far this year more than 140 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced or are under consideration in more than 20 states.

“Right now, we are witnessing the highest number on record of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced this early in any legislative session,” said Kasey Suffredini, VP of advocacy and government affairs of the organization.

“We must consider the negative toll of these ugly public debates on youth mental health and well-being. LGBTQ young people are watching, and internalizing the anti-LGBTQ messages they see in the media and from their elected officials. And so are those that would do our community harm,” he added.

Proposed policies include bans on LGBTQ-themed books or conversations about sexual orientation or gender identity in class, attempts to outlaw gender-affirming care and trans youth sports bans. Protests against family-friendly drag events have also taken place in nearly every state.


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