By Doug Erickson for the Wisconsin State Journal
Groundbreaking local research is providing new insights into being young and transgender.
For the first time, the 2012 Dane County Youth Assessment asked respondents to self-identify as transgender if that was an apt label. The survey is given to thousands of students every three years by the Dane County Youth Commission.
The data on transgender students, previously unreleased, show 1.5 percent of the county’s high school students self-identify as transgender, or about 250 teenagers. The figures were compiled by the Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools (GSAFE) in Madison, which analyzed the transgender data from the assessment.
The survey found 17 percent of transgender students had attempted suicide, compared to 3 percent of non-transgender students. Sixty-two percent of transgender youth reported having no long-term mental health problems, compared with 78 percent of non-transgender students.
“It’s not surprising that transgender youth would have more long-term mental health issues, given what we know about the stress and rejection that can come from being part of a minority community,” said Brian Juchems, GSAFE’s program director. “The good news is that many are figuring out ways not only to survive but to thrive.”