Back to News Front

LGBTQ military kids struggle more

Study: LGBTQ military kids nearly twice as likely to attempt suicide as peers

Team Misawa members stand at the starting line of a LGBTQ+ color run at Misawa Air Base, Japan, June 11, 2021. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Leon Redfern

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

An estimated 1.76 million young people in this country have a parent in the military. It is also well known that these youth face a battery of stressors due to their parents' military service to include frequent moves, separations during deployments or training, and fear of harm to their family member.

What is not as well-known and researched are the challenges that LGBTQ young people with military parents face as compared to their straight and cisgender peers.

One of those challenges is attempted suicide.

In a just release report by The Trevor Project, a non-profit that provides crisis support to LGBTQ young people, it found that 23% of approximately 1,700 respondents to a survey indicated they had attempted suicide in the previous year, compared with 14% of non-military LGBTQ youth.

The project report derived its results from a 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health which offered insight into the mental health issues faced by LGBTQ youth who have military parents.

"These data indicate a strong need for mental health care providers to prioritize competent services that demonstrate an understanding of both these young people's LGBTQ identities and their belonging to military families," said Jonah DeChants, a research scientist for The Trevor Project.

"This group faces significantly higher suicide risk compared to their peers," he continued, "and future research is needed to better consider the diversity of experiences that LGBTQ youth with military parents represent - such as whether they have one or multiple military parents, if their families live on a base, and whether or not their parents have deployed."

While the report did not clearly define "family support," its analysis of the findings found that LGTBQ youth who have a supportive family environment had nearly a 40% lower chance of suffering anxiety and a 46% lower chance of attempting suicide.

"LGBTQ youth who live in supportive communities or who had access to LGBTQ-affirming and/or high social support from families and friends reported significantly lower rates for attempting suicide in just the past few years ... the numbers go down exponentially," added Troy Stevenson, The Trevor Project's senior campaign manager.

"Talk about saving a life."

The report recommended that military and Tricare providers ensure that their staffs are trained in LGBTQ issues, and that those who treat any child be aware of the impact of military service on families.

"The military itself, and organizations dedicated to supporting the mental health of service members and their families - especially in the area of suicide prevention - should actively take into account the needs of LGBTQ people and create welcoming and affirming spaces for families with LGBTQ members," concluded the report.

For more information about The Trevor Project, visit

Editor's note: Sept. is suicide prevention month. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, it's important to know that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and finding the best option is key to a successful recovery.

For more information got to,

Read next close


Celebrating a storied career

comments powered by Disqus