The Relationship Between Suicide-Related Exposure and Personal History of Suicidal Behavior in Transgender and Gender-Diverse Veterans

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Transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) veterans experience a high prevalence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors (STBs). Within the general U.S. population, suicide-related exposure is an identified risk factor for STBs. This study explores the impact of suicide-related exposure in TGD veterans. Self-identified TGD veterans ( = 195) completed an online cross-sectional survey that included self-report measures of suicide-related exposures, experience of past-year suicidal ideation (SI), and history of suicide attempt (SA)(s). A considerable number of respondents indicated that they were close to someone who attempted suicide (40.5%) or died by suicide (32.8%). When asked about the gender identity of decedents, 6.7% indicated that at least one individual was TGD and 18.5% indicated knowing at least one close TGD individual who attempted suicide. Exposure to SA and to suicide were both independently related to a history of at least one SA. Neither type of suicide exposure was related to past year SI. Participants exposed to the SA of a close TGD individual were more likely to report past-year SI than those not exposed. TGD veterans may be more vulnerable to suicidal behaviors if suicide-related exposures are experienced. Public health suicide prevention initiatives, both inside and outside of the TGD community, may help to reduce suicide in these veterans.

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LGBT health

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