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Letter: Suicide rates among LGBTQ+ should be a grave concern for local leaders

Recent research from a nationwide survey published in 2018 delineates transgender and gender nonconforming (hereby TGNC) individuals may experience social ostracism, discrimination, family rejection, poverty, homelessness and violence at an elevated rate compared to their cisgender counterparts.

Letter to the editor FSA
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A Jan. 29 letter to the editor in the Herald (“I applaud the decision to halt the gender-inclusion policy at UND”) outlined numerous fallacies related to mental health in the LGBTQ+ community. The author attempted to diminish mental health concerns in marginalized communities and claimed that the LGBTQ+ community is not a marginalized population.

Recent research from a nationwide survey published in 2018 delineates transgender and gender nonconforming (hereby TGNC) individuals may experience social ostracism, discrimination, family rejection, poverty, homelessness and violence at an elevated rate compared to their cisgender counterparts. Results from the survey, including data collected from higher education populations, reported 25% of TGNC university students experienced harassment from other students, faculty and staff. Half of those students reported then withdrawing from their university after experiencing harassment.

Research consistently supports that stigma, harassment and discrimination contribute to increasing mental health concerns among marginalized populations including TGNC individuals. Therefore, research supports the elevated risk for suicidality among TGNC individuals which should be of grave concern for university administrators given their main priority is the safety and health of their students. If Mayor Brandon Bochenski wishes to return to the focus of “academic rigor,” the safety and mental health of UND students is crucial to their academic success. UND administrators should consider the consequences of revoking the policy and the current mental health of their TGNC students by prioritizing funding for education and training of faculty and staff, gender-affirming health care, and consulting with mental health professionals to provide support for their TGNC students.

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