Those of you still scratching your heads about a new California law that gives transgender students equal access to such aspects of public schools as bathrooms of their choice and sports teams of their choice should check out this new study from UCLA and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Researchers analyzed the National Transgender Discrimination Survey to determine that 78 percent of respondents said their experiences with physical and sexual violence at school led them to attempt suicide.
Same goes for 65 percent of those who said …
… they experienced violence at work.
Study co-author Jody L. Herman of UCLA Law School's Williams Institute told us the research supports the aims of the law, known as AB 1266:
I think the goal of that policy was to create a safer and more welcoming environment for transgender students in schools. We do see in this study that people who had experienced harassment or physical and sexual assaults in school had higher rates of suicide attempts.
Indeed. The analysis found that just bullying or harassment led to suicide attempts for more than half of the respondents.
That rate was even higher (57 percent) for those whose families shut them out, according to the academics.
Opponents, religious conservatives, are trying to overturn AB 1266 via a referendum. But it looks like they don't have enough signatures to make the November ballot.
Interestingly, one out of every two respondents reported suicide attempts after they came out as transgender or “gender-non-conforming,” the study says.
Herman told us this:
When people actually disclose to others that they were transgender you see higher rates of discrimination and higher rates of suicide. Coming out doesn't seem to have the protective effect. It tends to work in the opposite direction in some cases.
More research needs to be done.