Friday, September 14, 2012

Have you Ever Thought of Suicide?

The idea of suicide never resonated with me.  When my mother was going through a rough patch after my dad left, she often spoke of it: I always saw it as a stunt for attention. But a new study of transgender people in Virginia has found that experiencing physical or sexual violence significantly contributes to individuals’ suicidal thinking and substance abuse. The study, conducted by the Center for LGBTQ Evidence-based Applied Research, found that over 70 percent of respondents had a history of suicidal ideation, with about 28 percent having reported a past suicidal attempt.

I've heard about trans-suicide, met people that spoke of it, and experienced one friend who actual killed herself with a shotgun.  But I've never understood it. In the case of the latter, I and Lorna expended untold hours trying to comfort her, and more importantly, understand her perspective, to see what she saw, and to provide ideas of how to alter her perspective to see light instead of only dread and darkness.  We failed because she killed herself anyway.  But at the same time, we were fighting a losing battle all along: she didn't want to see the light, didn't want to find peace in this life; she seemed bent on making the plunge into death for the purpose of making a statement. What it was, and for who's benefit, or destruction, I have no idea. 

Oddly, this is the same girl that on 911 rushed to the scene and joined the rescue team, working to clear ruble and bodies for two days. 

yet I still don't get where suicidal motivation comes from . As bad as things might be, I always considered death a foregone conclusion, and therefore never saw the need -- under any circumstance  -- to rush it; tomorrow just might be a better day. 

In the post When Things Are Rough, I told the story of a transgirl that was disowned by her family, out of the house and homeless at age 13, HIV positive at 16,  who by age 33 had built a life, reconnected with her family, and was giving back to others in need. It was inspiring how in the face of such unhappiness she overcame.  I guess the optimist in me feels that anyone can.

In The Form That I Wear, I delved into the spiritual  perspective that had helped me along my gender exploration road, noting that the human spirit can endure whatever the heart has the courage to overcome. 


  1. Dear Brianna,

    Oh yes, I have thought about it...

    For a very long time I was unable to accept my feelings, my identity, my gender, my body... I lived a lie and I knew it. A lot of depressions based on this inner conflict and yes, I admit: I tried to take my own life - more than once.

    Since I had my coming out and learned that some people do love me - even as a TG ... a "human between genders"... I learned that I can can love myself as well. Learning that it's okay to be whatever you are, whatever I am.

    Most of my friends didn't even think about "it". Some treat me more like a women, some still treat me like a man... I'm fine with that.

    I haven't had any depressions since I took this big step... not one day.


    1. Well thank goodness you've found peace; it would have been such a loss to lose yet another. Suicide is so high among transpeople, but at least with the Internet over the last decade more and more information and support is avaiable to those in need . I guess the hardest thing in helping someone is understanding their pain, which I wasn't able to do when trying to help my friend Cathy -- who as I mentioned did kill herself. Judos to you for having the strength to work through it and fight for life; I've always said that life is grand, even on a shitty day!

  2. I've had suicidal ideation a lot in my life, and attempted it twice. My mother committed suicide when I was 24. I'm hoping that at 61 I will experience a much happier existence in my own skin as I transition into Emma. I know I'll bring along baggage. That's fine, and I have support resources. But still, each day has its moments.