Texas Reels under Record Number of Trans Youth Suicide Attempts

A child and her doctor
A transgender child with her pediatrician at the Arkansas capitol building

Cook Children’s Medical Center in Texas treated a record number of transgender and cisgender youth for attempted suicide in March 2021.

In August Cook County had 27 admissions for attempted suicide, which at the time was the most ever. In September Cook County admitted 37 children after they attempted suicide.

The Texas hospital admitted 43 children and youth after attempting suicide in March 2021, a single-month record. Last year the Texas Hospital recorded the most admissions for this reason making suicide for the first time the leading cause of trauma death for children and youth, more than child abuse and vehicular death combined.

These numbers reflect the growing death toll nationally as reported by the CDC.

The Arkansas anti-trans youth health care law, like bills being considered across the nation, makes it illegal for children to ask for help with gender dysphoria and punishes anyone who listens to them.

Children already isolated during the pandemic glean much of what they know through social media and TV. When all they see are people telling them that they can never be normal, that they will forever remain isolated, that their parents and doctors could go to jail because of who they are, they lose all hope.

In the past two months, the air has been inundated with a constant barrage of a record number of anti-LGBT legislation. Children don’t understand that some will never become law or directly affect them. All they know and rightfully so is that people are bent on stopping their lifesaving medications. They hear that they can’t play with their schoolmates and that they are sick beyond redemption.

They look into their parent’s medicine cabinet, as I did, and take whatever is there just hoping to end the pain.

According to the hospital system, last year, Cook Children’s recorded seven suicide deaths, marking the first time suicide was the leading cause of trauma deaths at the hospital, surpassing child abuse and car wrecks.

Texas had a 74% increase between 2016-2018 of children and youth 10-24 dying of suicide. Texas now has the country’s highest rate of youth death due to suicide according to CDC’s national vital statistics.

Texas began to attack children with anti-trans legislation in 2016 and the result was horrific, I was there, I saw it. The look of despair and hopelessness the children had at the capitol would have stopped any decent human being in their tracks.

Yet here is governor Abbott and his henchmen the next session with his vile legislation.

Texas Anti Transgender Legislation
Frank Gonzales and his transgender daughter Libby / Photo Lauren McGaughy, Dallas News 2017

Texas has 12 bills in this national list of anti-LGBT legislation. Every one of them a dagger to the heart of every trans kid.

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender