If you’re reading You Matter, then you probably already know that young adults are more likely to be at-risk for suicide. Young adults among LGBTQ community have a higher risk, and those who are transgender have the highest risk of all. Unfortunately, I don’t think these stats are very shocking. I think we as a society have become immune to the severity of suicide rates among minority populations. While these stats are important, this isn’t what I want to focus on in this article.
I want to focus on how you can help reduce these numbers and be an ally to the trans community.
The following are scenarios I myself have been in either as the trans guy, or as the friend. These are responses that were beneficial for me and my friends.
My trans friend says he doesn’t want to live anymore because no one understands what he’s going through. What do I do?
First and foremost, remind him he is definitely not alone. No matter what walk of life he’s coming from, whether his friends and family are supportive, whether he’s out or not, etc. there are several others going through very similar things. He is not alone. He has the entire community behind him. Remind him that, although you may not understand completely, you have empathy for him and are willing to do whatever you can to help him.
My friend says he feels like he will never be able to transition physically, so there’s no point in living. I know that’s not true, but how do I help him?
Watching others transition faster than you is one of the most brutal ways we beat ourselves up as trans guys. When we get in this mindset, it’s important to remind us that the ones we are looking up to were once in our shoes, too, longing to start testosterone or get top surgery and feeling like their day would never come. But it does eventually come. Everyone’s timeline is different and comparing your transition to someone else’s who might have more access to resources and/or money isn’t fair. You don’t have the same advantages (and disadvantages) others do.
My friend is dependent on his parents for shelter, food, etc. and knows they won’t accept him as their son, so he hasn’t come out yet. He keeps saying how he’d rather die than live a fake life. How can I help him see that it’ll all be worth it in the long run?
It’s really tough to console a friend who knows his family is unaccepting of him without actually being out. The fact is, no matter what his family has said about the trans community, he doesn’t know how they will react to him. It may give him an inclination that they won’t be accepting, but when it’s their own kid going through it, it may be different. However, your friend should not come out if he thinks his parents might kick him out, take away his financial support, etc. He needs to be sure he has somewhere to live and a way to feed himself if worst comes to worst. That being said, it will be worth it. Even if it sucks right now, there will come a day he can live fully as himself. Maybe suggest joining a support group or seeing a therapist if possible. Make sure he knows that there are several “support groups” online for him.
If you are in a particular situation with a friend and I need some help supporting them, feel free to tweet me at @NotPeter_Parker or email me at [email protected].
If you’re trans and feeling suicidal for any reason, please reach out to the Lifeline, the Trevor Project, a friend or family member, or myself. Get yourself help. You’re here for a reason and have a purpose in this world. Don’t give up.