“Why did you transition?”, a poster asks the subreddit r/asktransgender. The commenters answer:
The notion that suicide is inevitable unless someone transitions is something that comes up a lot in various trans communities on the internet.
This post asks how people in r/asktransgender would feel if hormone threapy and sexual reassignment surgery did not exist.
There are many more replies like the ones shown above. The general consensus seems to be that suicide is an almost inevitable outcome of not transitioning. Combined with the trend we saw highlighted in our previous post about how any questioning of one’s gender or discomfort with gender roles means you’re trans, this is a dangerous idea to internalize.
The notion of the inevitability of suicide comes up very frequently, like in this post, written as a guide to parents of transgender children.
The 41% figure comes up often, and often it is presented like it is here – as the rate at which transgender people commit suicide. That is not correct, the figure actually refers to suicide attempts over a lifetime. And even that is highly debatable; it comes from this study (pdf), where the authors admit that asking the question the way they did can “inflate the percentage of affirmative responses, since some respondents may use it to communicate self-harm behavior that is not a suicide attempt”. Other studies report much smaller numbers.
Another post asks “do you ever consider suicide?”
There are many more replies. Most of them say that they do, or that they have in the past.
Another way suicide often comes up, is as a bargaining chip. Look at this poster (aged 19) who tells the story of how their parents do not want to finance their transition:
“Do what I want or I will kill myself”.
We have seen this before, documented here, where a 13 year old kid is being given concrete advice on how to use suicide threats to pressure his parents into giving him access to hormones:
Another young teen, this one 14 years old, gets much the same advice when they ask how to talk to their parents about being transgender:
Someone who finds their way into these online communities are met with the idea that questioning one’s gender is a sure sign that one is trans. and should transition Then the idea is planted that suicide is such a common thing among transgender people, and that if you do not get access to the treatments you want, it is the natural outcome. And finally, suicide is presented as something you can use as a bargaining chip.