Caitlyn Jenner has been very vocal about raising awareness for the struggles faced by the transgender community, specifically its youth.
The brunette beauty penned an essay Monday morning to bring to our attention the alarming suicide rate among transgender teens.
She brought up sad statistics that show 51% of transgender people ages 12 to 24 have contemplated suicide, and 30% have actually attempted it.
The 65-year-old explained these devastating numbers are so high because our society isn’t the most accepting or understanding when it comes to gender dysphoria:
“This is the reality for far too many in the transgender community. And it’s not because trans people are somehow inherently unstable ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ it’s because we live in a world that makes it very, very difficult to be trans. Many people, especially kids, can’t see how they can live as their authentic selves and keep their family, their jobs, and their homes.”
On Sunday night’s premiere of I Am Cait, the former Olympian visited the family of Kyler Prescott, a San Diego transgender teen who tragically took his own life at the young age of 14.
Caitlyn explained that she also lost someone close to her at a young age, she has no idea what Kyler’s family must be going through:
“My brother died in a car crash when he was 18 and my family never really recovered from it. I can’t begin to imagine the Prescott family’s pain.”
In fact, she decides to graciously turn it over to Kyler’s mom, Katharine, who she felt was better equipped to effectively share her son’s story.
Katharine revealed that Kyler’s suicide wasn’t brought on by bullying from his peers. She explained that he had a lot of friends who were all really accepting.
She revealed that it was the older generation who wasn’t showing him the respect he deserved:
“The only real disrespect was from adults ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ and that was pretty severe, like referring to him as ‘she,’ even when it had been made very clear that he was a he. He had already had his name and gender changed legally, yet there were adults who were very disrespectful of his gender identity.”
Katharine said that it’s incredibly important to honor the wishes of a transgender person — like using the proper name or pronouns — because struggling with one’s identity is a completely real and difficult dilemma:
“This is not something to be taken lightly. If someone we see as a girl says, ‘No, I’m a boy,’ we need to listen to that and respect it right away ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ and vice versa, of course. So many parents fear that their kid is just acting out or going through a phase. But once someone has expressed his or her gender dysphoria, it’s something that is completely real and will never go away.”
She also pleaded with the parents of transgender children who aren’t showing compassion and understanding towards their kids who are just trying to be who they really are:
“There are a lot of kids out there who are not receiving support and that’s a real tragedy. That’s something that we have to change ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ and we have to change it now. These kids can’t wait. There’s nothing more terrible for a child than his or her own parents rejecting who he or she truly is. That’s devastating. Every child wants to please his or her parents. And if parents are saying, ‘You can’t be your authentic self,’ a lot of people will try to live the lie and suffer because of it.”
Our hearts are completely broken by Kyler’s untimely passing, and our thoughts are with his loved ones.
But we are really glad Caitlyn is doing all she can as such a prominent public figure to raise awareness about these serious statistics, and is working to make progress in people’s perception of the transgender community.
[Image via E!.]