Young trans people in Britain

23 March 2018
What was claimed

45% of young trans people in this country, modern Britain, have attempted suicide.

Our verdict

We can’t say how representative this is of the young trans community in Britain as a whole—the overall sample was not adjusted to try and be representative. It’s based on a survey of LGBT people aged 11 to 19, with 594 young trans respondents.

“45% of young trans people in this country, modern Britain, have attempted suicide. Not thought about, attempted”

Paris Lees, 22 March 2018

We can’t say for sure whether 45% of young trans people in Britain have tried to take their own life. It’s not clear that the survey this claim is based on is representative of all young trans people in Britain.

45% of young trans people who took part in a survey commissioned by the LGBT charity Stonewall said they had at some point attempted to take their own life. 92% said they have thought about doing so. There were 594 young trans respondents overall.

Stonewall surveyed 3,713 young people aged 11 to 19 across Britain, from November 2016 to February 2017. The survey was for young people who are lesbian, gay, bi or trans, or who think they might be. 16% of those surveyed reported themselves to be trans.

That’s a reasonable sample size, but we can’t say if the people responding are representative of young LGBT people in Britain as a whole.

That’s because we don’t have information on the demographic profile of the young LGBT community overall, and so the researchers weren’t able to adjust the findings to try and make them reflective of the general LGBT population.

Stonewall told us the survey was conducted via open recruitment and was self-selecting—in other words people chose whether to participate or not. This can be a problem in surveys because we don’t know if certain types of person are more likely to respond in the first place—skewing the results.

The survey did take steps to mitigate this as well. Stonewall told us the survey was sent out with the aim of sounding as neutral in tone as possible, with the line “what’s life in Britain like for you?”, and respondents were told there would be questions on school, and social life, role models and aspirations for the future.

The survey also provides some detail on the makeup of the respondents, in terms of the type of schools they attend, their ethnicity, their free school meal status, and whether or not they have a disability. However, this doesn’t tell us if they are representative of the young LGBT community.

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