What can parents and friends of trans people do to help them beat the dismal mental health and suicide statistics? A lot, says Elijah Nealy.
Suicide, substance abuse, mental illness, and harassment affect LGBTQ kids at highly disproportional rates—but there is a single mediating factor that can lower those risks dramatically: family acceptance. LGBTQ teens who experience rejection at home are 8.4 times more likely to have attempted suicide by their early twenties. As the visibility of trans people increases, raising and supporting trans kids is emerging as critical. How can we help them beat the dismal stats? Elijah Nealy shares a few best practices for parents and friends, from understanding gender fluidity and questioning gender norms to respecting pronouns and recognizing that being trans isn't necessarily about body parts—it's about what's going on in someone's mind. These tips may help save a life, and better yet, it can help a trans kid become a confident, healthy, and loved young adult. Elijah Nealy is the author of Transgender Children and Youth: Cultivating Pride and Joy with Families in Transition.