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New study finds trans youth in Alberta concerned about safety

By Admin User on October 31, 2017

A survey sheds light on the transgender youth community in Canada and more specifically, in Alberta.

73 percent of youth that participated in the survey reported self-harm in the last year and 67 percent of younger trans youth, said they’ve had serious thoughts of suicide in the past 12 months.

90 per cent of trans youth surveyed in Alberta said they won’t seek mental health supports because they’re afraid their parents will find out, while only 4 percent of them┬áreported having an “excellent” mental health status.

Dr. Kristopher Wells, director of the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta, released a report this week on the Alberta results of the Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey. The study is focused on looking at the experiences of trans youth in Alberta, with hopes of being able to provide research to policy makers and various organizations within the province.

“These number are certainly disturbing. However, they’re not surprising to those who are transgender or those who work closely with the community. What we’ve really been able to do is put the hard numbers behind the lived experiences, and while it’s not a “great” news story, it’s an important story in terms of getting the research out there.”

Max Quilliam, a transgender MacEwan university student, relates to the findings from the survey and isn’t necessarily surprised by the results.

“Overall, there is a lack of information that causes a stigma towards trans people,” said Quilliam. “Trans rights are set back a little bit more than we like to account for, there is still such a misunderstanding of alternative gender identities.”

The study is the first of its kind for the province, providing research into the lives of transgender youth for the first time. Dr. Wells says that one of the biggest issues facing this community in the past, is that there has been a lack of knowledge within vital environments; families of trans youth, schools and health care.

Quilliam says that when these environments are not safe and informed, “it leads to more hate and misunderstanding.”





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