Nearly 2% of high school students identify as transgender and intervention is needed to improve their health outcomes, according to a study released by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on Friday.
The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS) report found an average of 1.8% of high school students identify as transgender. The report is conducted every two years and, for the first time, included a pilot question about transgender identity posed to 131,901 U.S. high school students in 10 states and “nine large urban school districts” in 2017. The report then pooled the data from those 19 sites.
Participation in the survey is both anonymous and voluntary.
Transgender students were more likely than their cisgender peers to report being victims of violence. 35% of transgender students said they were bullied at school, and 27% said they felt unsafe going to or from school.
The report also found they were at higher risk for substance use and suicide. 35% of transgender students said they have attempted suicide.
The report called for “coordinated intervention efforts to improve health outcomes among transgender youth” and providing “access to culturally competent physical and mental health care.” It also instructed schools to create safer learning environments by enforcing anti-bullying policies and training supportive staff.