Pride Month 2019: More than half of transgender, non-binary youth have considered suicide, report | Tuesday Coffee

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Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

June is Pride Month. And here in Pennsylvania, we’ve observed it by illuminating the Capitol’s West Front in rainbow colors and draping the balcony outside Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s office with multi-hued pride flags.

But when it comes to the hard work of actually guaranteeing equal rights for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians, the 253-member General Assembly is still falling short in ways big and small.

Lawmakers have yet to enshrine anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians in state law. And last week, the Republican-controlled Senate rebuffed a non-binding Pride Month resolution, according to the Philadelphia Gay News.

So it’s disturbing this Tuesday morning to come across a newly published report by The Trevor Project, a nonprofit that specializes in suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth, that paints a “sobering picture” of how far the nation (and Pennsylvania) has to go in protecting and validating these young lives.

Just for instance: the study found that:

  • “39 percent of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past twelve months, with more than half of transgender and non-binary youth having seriously considered
  • 71 percent of LGBTQ youth reported feeling sad or hopeless for at least two weeks in the past year
  • Less than half of LGBTQ respondents were out to an adult at school, with youth less likely to disclose their gender identity than sexual orientation
  • 2 in 3 LGBTQ youth reported that someone tried to convince them to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, with youth who have undergone conversion therapy more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as those who did not
  • 71 percent of LGBTQ youth in the study reported discrimination due to either their sexual orientation or gender identity
  • 58 percent of transgender and non-binary youth reported being discouraged from using a bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity
  • 76 percent of LGBTQ youth felt that the recent political climate impacted their mental health or sense of self
  • 87 percent of LGBTQ youth said it was important to them to reach out to a crisis intervention organization that focuses on LGBTQ youth
  • … and 98 percent said a safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth would be valuable to them.”
Source: The Trevor Project 

A few more numbers:

  • 44 – The percentage of cisgender respondents who attempted suicide among those who had considered it in the last twelve months
  • 53 – The percentage of transgender or non-binary respondents who attempted suicide among those who had considered it in the last twelve months
  • 67 – The percentage of respondents who said they had someone attempt to convince them to change their sexual orientation or gender identity
  • 43 – The percentage of respondents who said they were open about their sexual orientation to a teacher or guidance counselor at their school
  • 40 – The percentage of respondents who were said they were open about their gender identity to a teacher or guidance counselor at their school
  • 30 – The percentage of respondents who said they were open about their sexual orientation to a doctor or health care professional
  • 29 – The percentage of transgender or non-binary respondents who said they were open about their gender identity to a doctor or health care professional
Source: The Trevor Project

“This is our first wide-ranging report from a cross-sectional national survey of LGBTQ youth across the United States. With over 34,000 respondents, it is the largest survey of LGBTQ youth mental health ever conducted and provides a critical understanding of the experiences impacting their lives,” the study’s authors wrote. “The data provides a sobering look at how far we still have to go to protect LGBTQ young lives. But the survey also reveals the resilience and diversity of LGBTQ youth and provides guidance on what can be done to enable them to survive and thrive.”

WikiMedia Commons

Our Stuff.
Stephen Caruso
 talks to a Montgomery County woman, and abortion-rights opponent,  who was on the receiving end of state Rep. Brian Sims’ social media harassment last month. She was in the Capitol Monday to press for passage of resolution censuring the Philadelphia Democrat.

Elizabeth Hardison has the details on a lengthy Senate hearing on school district consolidation issues. Pennsylvania has an absolutely unwieldy 500 school districts.

Stephen Caruso has the details on House passage of a bill mandating eVerify for the construction industry. 

U.S. House Democrats, with serious backing from Pa., are prepping for a vote a $15/hr. minimum wage bill, we write with Washington Bureau Chief Robin Bravender.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., talks about efforts to fight fentanyl trafficking during an event in York, Pa., on 3/21/19 (Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek)

Elsewhere.
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa
., has jumped into the fight over the $100M EITC expansion, the Associated Press reports (via The Inquirer).
The new leader of the troubled Harrisburg school district preached the gospel of transparency in her first public appearance, PennLive reports.
U.S. Steel has averted a permanent shutdown, repairing its pollution equipment, The Post-Gazette reports.
State lawmakers from Philadelphia ‘raised the alarm’ after a wave of shootings in the city over the weekend, the AP also reports (via The Tribune-Review).

Here’s your #Phiadelphia Instagram of the Day:

WHYY-FM has the story of one of those shootings: At a graduation party in southwest Philadelphia.
BillyPenn has its annual Billy awards for the best of, well, everything, in Philadelphia. 
There’s new debate over proposed changes to the state’s high school playoff system, The Morning Call reports.
Joe Biden wants to eliminate tax loopholes to help address poverty, Roll Call reports.

What Goes On.
The House gavels in at 11 a.m, the Senate at 1 p.m.
10 am., Main Rotunda:
 United Way of Pennsylvania on families’ financial struggles
11 a.m., Main Rotunda: A rally for whole milk being served in schools (First Pat Toomey. Now this? Et tu, Legislature?)
12 p.m., Main Rotunda: Pa. Education Leaders advocacy day
1 p.m., East Rotunda: Teachers and students rally to protect public schools
 4 p.m., Main Rotunda: Annual Seersucker Suit Caucus group photo

WolfWatch.
Gov. Tom Wolf 
has no public schedule today.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Rep. Kyle Mullins
8 a.m.: Breakfast for Rep. Tom Mehaffie
5:30 p.m: Reception for Rep. Martina White
Ride the circuit, and give at the max, and you out a trifling $6,500 today.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s an old fave by The Killers to get your Tuesday rolling. It’s ‘When You Were Young.’

Tuesday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link.
Baltimore lost a late one to Oakland, 3-2, on the coast on Monday night.

And now you’re up to date. 

An award-winning political journalist with more than 25 years' experience in the news business, John L. Micek is The Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. Before joining The Capital-Star, Micek spent six years as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., where he helped shape and lead a multiple-award-winning Opinion section for one of Pennsylvania's most-visited news websites. Prior to that, he spent 13 years covering Pennsylvania government and politics for The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa. His career has also included stints covering Congress, Chicago City Hall and more municipal meetings than he could ever count, Micek contributes regular analysis and commentary to a host of broadcast outlets, including CTV-News in Canada and talkRadio in London, U.K., as well as "Face the State" on CBS-21 in Harrisburg, Pa.; "Pennsylvania Newsmakers" on WGAL-8 in Lancaster, Pa., and the Pennsylvania Cable Network. His weekly column on American politics is syndicated nationwide to more than 800 newspapers by Cagle Syndicate.

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