Story at a glance

  • Nearly half of LGBTQ+ youth who are also intersex have seriously considered suicide in the past year, according to a new report from the Trevor Project, but acceptance from family can significantly reduce that number.
  • Eighteen percent of LGBTQ+ intersex youth reported being exposed to conversion therapy, though that statistic is likely much higher.
  • Transgender and nonbinary intersex youths whose pronouns were respected by all of the people they live with had 64 percent lower odds of reporting suicide attempts.

Acceptance is a significant protective factor in lowering suicide risk in intersex youth, new research has found.

Nearly 50 percent of LGBTQ+ youth who are also intersex — an umbrella term used to describe individuals whose reproductive anatomy or physical sex traits don’t fit the typical definitions of “male” or “female” — have seriously considered suicide in the last year, according to a new report from the Trevor Project, a national youth suicide prevention and crisis intervention group.

Nearly 20 percent of LGBTQ+ intersex youth attempted suicide in the past 12 months, according to the report, which looked at more than 1,000 intersex youth ages 13 to 24. That rate rose alarmingly higher among younger LGBTQ+ intersex youths, with nearly 1 in 4 13- to 17-year-olds reporting suicide attempts in the last year.

“We already know that the rates of mental health challenges are higher for LGBTQ youth compared to cisgender, straight youth, so when we compare intersex youth to the already high rates among LGBTQ youth, we know that they’re increasingly high,” Myeshia Price, a senior research scientist at the Trevor Project, told NBC News.


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The report identified several risk factors for poor mental health among LGBTQ+ intersex youth, including conversion therapy, which 18 percent reported being exposed to. Recommended “treatment” for intersex individuals often includes practices that amount to conversion therapy, according to the report, leading intersex youth to under-report their experiences with it.

But one finding in the report struck a more optimistic chord: Acceptance and affirmation significantly reduce the risk of suicide for LGBTQ+ intersex youths.

LGBTQ+ intersex youth with at least one parent who was accepting of their sexual orientation had 55 percent lower odds of attempting suicide in the previous year, according to the report, and those with at least one parent who accepted their gender identity had 45 percent lower odds.

Transgender and nonbinary intersex youths whose pronouns were respected by all of the people they live with had 64 percent lower odds of reporting suicide attempts.


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Published on Dec 06, 2021