LGBTQ Adults

It can feel like the world is against you. With all of the challenges faced by LGBTQ people, it makes sense why you would feel this way, but suicide is not a solution. Things can get better because there are other options and people that can help.

Challenges Experienced By LGBTQ Adults

Here are just some of the difficulties you might be facing.


A major challenge for LGBTQ people is the discrimination we experience every day. Others take advantage of inequalities in the laws that fail to protect us from unfair practices at work, in school, and in securing housing. There are even states that have given people the right to refuse to serve us. This discrimination promotes the idea that LGBTQ people are inferior. It is this social perception that creates nearly every other challenge we experience in the LGBTQ community.

Coming Out 

Attempts at suicide are most common right before or right after coming out. Coming to terms with identifying as LGBTQ can be extremely difficult and the fear of telling others, when we are not sure how they will react, can be terrifying. The people we love might be more accepting than we ever thought possible or they may have a negative reaction. Once we come out, our lives are changed forever and it can take time for things to change for the better.

Read more about coming out here (external link).

Family Rejection 

This is one of the biggest fears and risk factors of suicide attempts for LGBTQ people. The lack of understanding and acceptance from family and friends can be isolating and make it difficult to receive the resources we need to live healthy lives.

See more information on family: Challenges experienced by LGBTQ youth under the “Are terrified to come out to family and friends” section.

Isolation from the LGBTQ Community

Connecting to other people who identify as LGBTQ is important to understanding and accepting yourself. When you don’t know other people like you, it can feel like there is something wrong with you. But you are not the only one. There are millions of people who identify as LGBTQ in the U.S. alone. Knowing and communicating with other LGBTQ people is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

See more information on friends: Challenges experienced by LGBTQ youth under the “Wish they knew how to find LGBTQ+ friends and people to date” section.

Harassment and Violence

Harassment and violence of LGBTQ people is one of the most common forms of hate-violence in the U.S. The real frequency of these attacks is unknown since many go unreported, but we do know it is common for LGBTQ people to experience verbal harassment, threats of assault, and physical violence. Sadly, sometimes these attacks turn fatal and victims who survive the attacks are more likely to attempt suicide after being assaulted. Also, domestic violence is reported less by LGBTQ people than other victims even though it happens just as often in LGBTQ relationships. This leaves many people feeling like they have no way to safety.

Lack of Health Resources 

Health needs often slip through the cracks because people fear coming out to healthcare workers and healthcare workers are rarely properly trained in caring for LGBTQ people. The lack of knowledge and understanding within hospitals, mental health facilities, sexual health facilities, recovery programs, and emergency personnel leads to higher rates of HIV/AIDS and some types of cancer; undiagnosed depression, anxiety, and mood disorders; and increased drug and alcohol abuse in the LGBTQ community.

See more information on health resources: Challenges experienced by LGBTQ youth under the “Aren’t sure how to access health services that are accepting and knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ health issues” section.

No Transportation

Even when there are services available to help, it can be extremely difficult to reach them if they are too far away or you don’t have a ride to get there. This is especially hard for LGBTQ people who do not live near cities.


People of different races, economic statuses, abilities, and gender identities have very different experiences within their own communities and within the LGBTQ community. For example, a trans woman of color with a disability will be subjected to discrimination for her race, gender, and ability. People with intersecting identities of oppressed groups are even more likely to experience each of the challenges mentioned above.

LGBTQ Suicide Facts

Too many LGBTQ people have attempted suicide.

  • Lesbian, gay, and bisexual kids are three times more likely than straight kids to attempt suicide at some point in their lives. 1
  • LGBTQ youth are 4 times more likely to make a medically serious attempt at suicide than other young people. 1
  • Especially high suicide attempt rates have been reported among lesbian, gay, and bisexual people who are African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian American. 2-4
  • Lesbian and bisexual women and girls are twice as likely to attempt suicide than those who are straight. 5
  • Gay and bisexual guys are four times as likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual men and boys. 5
  • Nearly half of young trans people have seriously considered taking their lives and a quarter have attempted suicide. 6
  • In one study, 41% of trans adults said they had attempted suicide. The same study found that 61% of trans people who were victims of physical assault had attempted suicide. 7
  • Lesbian, gay, and bisexual young people who come from families that reject or do not accept them are over eight times more likely to attempt suicide than those whose families accept them. 8
  • Each time an LGBTQ person is a victim of physical or verbal harassment or abuse, they become two and a half times more likely to hurt themselves. 9
  • Conversion or reparative therapy are ineffective and extremely harmful for LGBTQ people. These therapies can lead to increased depression, substance abuse, and suicide attempts. 10
  • Suicidal lesbian, gay, and bisexual people were more likely to attempt suicide after seeking religious or spiritual treatment. 11

Note: This website only includes information about suicide attempts and not deaths by suicide. That is because accurate information is not always collected and reported about people’s sexualities and gender identities after their deaths. For this reason, there are not reliable statistics regarding suicide rates of LGBTQ people.


  1. Marshal MP, Dietz LJ, Friedman MS, et al. Suicidality and depression disparities between sexual minority and heterosexual youth: a meta-analytic review. J Adolescent Health. 2011;49(2):115–123.
  2. Remafedi G. Suicidality in a venue-based sample of young men who have sex with men. J Adolescent Health.2002;31(4):305–310.
  3. Paul JP, Catania J, Pollack L, et al. Suicide attempts among gay and bisexual men: lifetime prevalence and antecedents. Am J Public Health. 2002;92(8):1338–1345.
  4. Meyer IH, Dietrich J, Schwartz S. Lifetime prevalence of mental disorders and suicide attempts in diverse lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations. Am J Public Health. 2008;98(6):1004–1006.
  5. King M, Semlyen J, Tai SS, et al. A systematic review of mental disorder, suicide, and deliberate self harm in lesbian, gay and bisexual people. BMC Psychiatry. 2008;8:70.
  6. Grossman, A.H. & D’Augelli, A.R. (2007). Transgender Youth and Life-Threatening Behaviors. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behaviors.37(5), 527-37.
  7. Grant JM, Mottet LA, Tanis J, Harrison J, Herman JL, Keisling M. Injustice at every turn: a report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; 2011.
  8. Family Acceptance Project™. (2009). Family rejection as a predictor of negative health outcomes in white and Latino lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults. Pediatrics. 123(1), 346-52.
  9. IMPACT. (2010). Mental health disorders, psychological distress, and suicidality in a diverse sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths. American Journal of Public Health. 100(12), 2426-32.
  10. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Ending conversion therapy: supporting and affirming LGBTQ youth. 2015.
  11. Meyer, Iian H., Merilee TEYLAN, and SHARON SCHWARTZ. “The Role of Help-Seeking in Preventing Suicide Attempts among Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals.” The Official Journal of the American Association of Suicidology (2014): 1-12. Web. 23 Dec. 2016.

Depression, Anxiety, and Suicide

According to the CDC, 90% of the people who die by suicide have a mental illness – such as depression or anxiety – or substance abuse problem at the time of their death.

Depression, anxiety, and mood disorders are common in the LGBTQ community. One reason for this is the stress LGBTQ people face because of prejudice and discrimination; like family rejection, bullying, harassment, and violence. These experiences cause low self-esteem, isolation, and negative sexual and gender identity. If those feelings last for a long time, they can grow into anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses.

Many people use alcohol and drugs to try to avoid their thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, drug and alcohol abuse usually end up adding to feelings of pain, guilt, and shame.

Sometimes people think that taking their lives is the only way to stop their pain. But most people (even those with the most severe cases of depression, anxiety, and drug or alcohol abuse) can get better with treatment.

We know that at times your life can feel uncertain, hopeless and like nothing will get better. But with time and help it can and it will. Take a moment to stop, take a breath and reach out because there are people out there who care about you and will help you. 


  1. Grant JM, Mottet LA, Tanis J, Harrison J, Herman JL, Keisling M. Injustice at every turn: a report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; 2011.
  2. Hatzenbuehler ML, Keyes KM, Hasin DS. State-level policies and psychiatric morbidity in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations. Am J Public Health. 2009;99(12):2275–2281.
  3. Hatzenbuehler ML, McLaughlin KA, Keyes KM, Hasin DS. The impact of institutional discrimination on psychiatric disorders in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: a prospective study. Am J Public Health.2010;100(3):452–459.
  4. Ryan C, Russell ST, Huebner D, Diaz R, Sanchez J. Family acceptance in adolescence and the health of LGBT young adults. J Child Adolesc Psychiatr Nurs. 2010;23(4):205–213.
  5. Blosnich JR, Bossarte RM, Silenzio VM. Suicidal ideation among sexual minority veterans: results from the 2005–2010 Massachusetts behavioral risk factor surveillance survey. Am J Public Health. 2012;102 Suppl 1:S44–47.

When To Get Help

Please tell someone you trust or a doctor if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Thinking about, talking about or planning suicide 1
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol, especially if you increase your use or change drugs 1
  • Anxiety, restlessness, and/or feeling overwhelmed 1
  • Recklessness or high risk-taking behavior 1
  • Frequent anger 1
  • Feeling trapped or like there is no way out 1
  • Feeling no sense of purpose or unmotivated 1
  • Hopelessness or feeling like there is nothing to live for 1
  • Withdrawing from your family, friends, work, school, and/or activities you used to enjoy 1
  • Stress from prejudice and discrimination (family rejection, harassment, bullying, violence) 2
  • Feeling lonely or like there is no one you can talk to 2
  • Sleep problems (either too much or too little) 3
  • Unusual appetite that results in noticeable weight loss or gain 3
  • Feeling like no one would care if were gone or like it would be easier for everyone if you were gone 4


  1. These warning signs were compiled by a task force of expert clinical-researchers and ‘translated’ for the general public.
  2. Haas, A. P., Eliason, M., Mays, V. M., Mathy, R. M., Cochran, S. D., D’Augelli, A. R. . . . Clayton, P. J. (2011). Suicide and suicide risk in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations: Review and recommendations. Journal of Homosexuality58(1), 10–51.
  3. DSM-IV Criteria for Major Depressive Disorder
  4. Suicide Prevention Resources Center

Where to Get Help

Crisis Help

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24. 1-866-488-7386.

The GLBT National Help Center provides peer-support and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. They operate three national hotlines: the GLBT National Hotline, the GLBT National Youth Talkline, and the SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline. They also offer online peer support chat and an extensive database of LGBTQ resources. 1-800-246-7743.

The Trans Lifeline is dedicated to the well being of transgender people. They run a hotline staffed by transgender people for transgender people. Trans Lifeline volunteers are ready to respond to whatever support needs members of the trans community might have. 1-877-565-8860.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States.  1-800-273-8255.

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center provides information on mental health facilities and prevention efforts in your state.

The Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text 741741 from anywhere in the USA to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.

Additional Resources

Coming Out Resources

Resources to Share with Your Family and Friends

Mental Health Resources  

Medical and Sexual Health Resources  

Substance Abuse and Addiction Resources 

Anti-Violence Resources (violence/harassment/domestic abuse)

Legal Resources

Homelessness Resources


Employment Resources

Welcoming Religious Communities 

Local LGBTQ Social and Recreational Resources

Stories From Other Survivors