Physical Victimization, Gender Identity and Suicide Risk among Transgender Men and Women


We investigated whether being attacked physically due to one’s gender identity or expression was associated with suicide risk among trans men and women living in Virginia. The sample consisted of 350 transgender men and women who participated in the Virginia Transgender Health Initiative Survey (THIS). Multivariate multinomial logistic regression was used to explore the competing outcomes associated with suicidal risk. Thirtyseven percent of trans men and women experienced at least one physical attack since the age of 13. On average, individuals experienced 3.97 (SD = 2.86) physical attacks; among these about half were attributed to one’s gender identity or expression (mean = 2.08, SD = 1.96). In the multivariate multinomial regression, compared to those with no risk, being physically attacked increased the odds of both attempting and contemplating suicide regardless of gender attribution. Nevertheless, the relative impact of physical victimization on suicidal behavior was higher among those who were targeted on the basis of their gender identity or expression. Finally, no significant association was found between multiple measures of institutional discrimination and suicide risk once discriminatory and non-discriminatory physical victimization was taken into account. Trans men and women experience high levels of physical abuse and face multiple forms of discrimination. They are also at an increased risk for suicidal tendencies. Interventions that help transindividuals cope with discrimination and physical victimization simultaneously may be more effective in saving lives.

Preventive Medicine Reports, 4 385–390.