One in four gay and transgender people attempt suicide


A survey carried out by Ghent University shows that 22% of gay and 39% of transgender people in Flanders have attempted suicide at least once in their lives

‘Much higher than expected’

About one-quarter of all gay and transgender people in Flanders have attempted suicide at least once in their life, according to a survey by the Flemish Expertise Centre on Suicide Prevention at Ghent University (UGent).

Of the 656 gay and 248 transgender participants surveyed, 26.5% said they had attempted suicide at least once. Among gay people, 22% have tried to end their life, while the rate among transgendered people is nearly 39%.

The researchers told De Morgen that the statistics are “alarming” and much higher than expected. Among the main risk factors, they said, are homophobic and transphobic violence, the reaction of parents to a coming-out and difficulties in seeking professional help.

Jeroen Borghs of LGBT rights organisation Çavaria has called on the government of Flanders to take action. “There should be a targeted suicide-prevention campaign that focuses on transgender people and young lesbians, who are the most vulnerable groups,” he said.

In response, Flemish welfare minister Jo Vandeurzen has announced that in the coming months he will call on organisations to work together on preventive actions.

In the report, the UGent researchers emphasise the need to better protect LGBT people with tougher measures against transphobia, for example. They also argue for a plan to create safer school and work environments.

The Suicide Hotline can be reached at 1813 or through the website Zelfmoord1813.