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

Raymond P. Tucker, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Sarah Pardue-Bourgeois, Department of Psychology, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, Louisiana.
Annie Snow, Department of Social Work, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.
Mike Bradstreet, Trans Collaborations, Local Advisory Board, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Julie Cerel, Department of Social Work, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.


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.