Once again, research has found that transgender youth whose identities are respected have better mental health than those who are not. More specifically, this research looked at the impact of trans youth having their chosen names used throughout their lives.
The new study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that trans youth fared vastly better when their chosen names were used at places like home, work, and school.
The results showed a very clear link. For each additional context in which they could go by their chosen name, there was a 29 percent decrease in suicidal thoughts and a 56 percent decrease in suicidal behavior. That was even after the researchers controlled for factors like personal characteristics (like race/ethnicity, sexual identity, access to free lunch, or the differences between the three cities) and the impact of social support (from parents, friends, classmates, teachers, and their school).
“Depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, and suicidal behavior were at the lowest levels when chosen names could be used in all four contexts,” the study explains.
Stephen T. Russell, one of the researchers on the study, said the results were impressively demonstrative. “I’ve been doing research on LGBT youth for almost 20 years now, and even I was surprised by how clear that link was,” he said in a statement. “It’s practical to support young people in using the name that they choose. It’s respectful and developmentally appropriate.”
Yes, water is wet, but we can’t write off the significance of research like this. The more data we have about the importance of respecting and validating trans people’s transitions, the stronger a case we have for making those processes easier, especially for young people. More research!