Legal Same-Sex Marriage Reduces Youth LGBT Suicide Rates

US States are reporting a decrease in instances of young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender suicide since the legalisation of same-sex marriage

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In a world of bad news and fake news, isn't it good to hear some good news?

Since 2015 the US called State-level bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, meaning that the slow and hard-fought battle of marriage equality was finally won.

Though many LGBT people may not have even wanted to exercise this potential freedom, many argued it was important to be seen equally in the law and thus, society en-masse.

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And this trickle-down theory appears to have worked to some extent.

One of the most worrying elements of homophobia, transphobia and general anti-LGBT sentiment is the resulting suicide and attempted suicide rates amongst LGBT youth.

According to Stonewall in the UK, 'Nearly half (48 per cent) of trans people under 26 said they had attempted suicide, and 30 per cent said they had done so in the past year, while 59 per cent said they had at least considered doing so.'

According to LGBT Foundation, 'LGB people are twice as likely as heterosexual people to have suicidal thoughts or to make suicide attempts', 'LGB people are two to three times more likely than heterosexual people to suffer from depression', and 'over half of gay young people deliberately harm themselves yet the NSPCC estimates that for young people in general its between 1 in 15 and 1 in 10.'

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These stats are reflected in the US with Broadly reporting, 'more than 29% of gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens reported at least one attempt in the last month, according to the CDC's 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) data', this is comparative to 6% of heterosexual students.

The study looked at 762,678 adolescents between 1999 and 2015 and conducted a state-by-state analysis of the places that passed same-sex marriage policies between 2004 and 2015.

They found that there was a 7% decrease in instances of youth suicides, which was concentrated among adolescents who were sexual minorities, in states which legalised same-sex marriage.

The study hypothisised that suicide was linked to stigma and that the legalisation of same-sex marriage reduces institutionalised stigma, as well as creating increased visibilty and thus reducing social stigma as well.

'These are high school students so they aren't getting married any time soon, for the most part,' says study leader Julia Raifman, ScD, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School in this Press Release.

'Still, permitting same-sex marriage reduces structural stigma associated with sexual orientation. There may be something about having equal rights - even if they have no immediate plans to take advantage of them - that makes students feel less stigmatized and more hopeful for the future.'

This is a great leap forward, though we shouldn't be complacent, Trump is apparently planning to rescind legislation that protects transgender student's rights to use the gendered toilet they identify with.

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