People are screaming that this is an epidemic. The dictionary defines “epidemic” as “affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time.” And suicide affects our community all the time. But just because it’s being reported now, does not mean this is a new rash of LGBT teen suicides – on the contrary, this is nothing new for us.
According to the Trevor Project’s Fact Sheet, 1 in every 3 LGB youth have attempted suicide. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death on college campuses and LGBT youth are ten times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. Between 20-40% of all homeless youth identify as LGBT – of those kids, 62% will attempt suicide at least once.
These statistics aren’t from the past month, they are from the past several years. It just so happens that for some reason, now it is a news story. But at some point, reporters will get tired of telling these stories. At some point, it won’t be the hot trend and so some will sit back and assume the trend has stopped – but it won’t and it hasn’t.
Former Howard University student, Aiyisha Hassan, 19 took her own life on October 5 in her home state of California. According to friends, she was struggling with a lot of things, but primarily her sexual identity. A vigil was held in her honor last Thursday night. This is the first lesbian to be included in the recently named teens who have taken their own lives.