Caitlyn Jenner works to lower suicide rates among transgender people

Vanity Fair
More than 50 percent of transgender youth have attempted suicide at least once by their 20th birthday, the Youth Suicide Prevention Program reports. Greta Martela, founder of Trans Lifeline, said about one transgender person has died from suicide every week so far this year.

A month ago, a Wisconsin 15-year-old killed himself a few days after announcing on Facebook that he was transgender and changing his gender to "female."

Cameron Langrell's parents told CBS News that a few years ago, he started telling them that he felt trapped in the wrong body.

His mother Jamie Olender said she believes Cameron was bullied by students in the hallways at Horlick High School and on social media. She said his grades had been slipping because of the bullying.

"He was always bullied for being feminine,” she told Journal Times. “We told him to be who you are.”

Last month, ABC News reports that Kyler Prescott, 14, of California also lost his life to suicide. Kyler was born female but told his mom at 13 that he identified as a boy.

His mother Katherine said Kyler was diagnosed with depression and said she thinks he took his life because he was "misgendered all the time."

Do these sound like people who "choose" to be this way?

With Bruce Jenner debuting as Caitlyn this week, she has brought the topic of being transgender to a national level. Caitlyn said she felt like she was a woman since she was 8 years old. And now, more than 50 years later, she is finally living as the gender she always felt she was.

Caitlyn told Vanity Fair magazine that, in an E! Network Series set to air this summer, she will be focusing on lowering the rates of suicide and attempted suicide in the transgender community.

I'm hoping that, with Caitlyn's public transformation, kids going through the same issues will feel less alone, more accepted and less likely to take their lives.

She has received so much support from the community since Monday — people calling her "beautiful" and a "hero." I'm hoping that transgender youth will see these comments people make about Caitlyn and think, "I do have a future to live for. Not everyone will judge me."

But, still, there are so many people who criticize Caitlyn and call her awful names. I'm not saying everyone needs to agree with her; everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But that doesn't mean you have to bash her and say cruel things about her. The things people say about their own fellow human beings make me sick.

The truth is, these things people say probably won't hurt Caitlyn. She probably won't even read them. Who it will hurt is other transgender people reading through the comments, feeling as if these strangers are talking about them — not Caitlyn. If you knew that someone may attempt suicide after reading your comment, would you think twice about the words you write?

Instead of tearing down fellow humans, why don't we lift them up? Why don't we give them reasons to live, instead of reasons to die?

The bullying is what makes people hide who they really are. My friend told me she found out her father was gay when she was a kid. Now, she just wishes he would have been honest from the beginning

My friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, said, "Behind ever person who pretends to not be true to themselves is a community that just wants to know the true you! Pretending to be someone you are not can leave behind friends, parents, spouses, and children who will always be happier knowing the true you."

"Honesty is respect, and you are not respecting yourself or me if you are lying about who you are. If my dad was honest with my mom, I would still have a relationship with him."

Here are some of the comments more of my friends have made following the release of Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair magazine cover, that will hopefully show people who are transgender that there are people who have your back.
  • Brittany Snyder: "There are actual transgender people kicked out of their homes, assaulted, and murdered by those who consider them disgusting. The real world needs MORE acceptance and support, it saves lives. ... Can't you just be happy for another human finally achieving happiness?" 
  • Mark Frankhouse: "She should be proud of who she is. No living being has the right to tell another person how to live as long as they aren't harming anyone and they're happy. ... You want to make a change and save somebody? Start accepting them. And be happy that the burden they've lived with has been lifted."  
  • Steve Krause: "(Caitlyn) is a strong, complex person who made this choice out of knowing himself. I think it's a testament to have one of the world's greatest athletes transition for all the public to see. I hope other people find strength through Caitlyn."   
  • Kim Davis Reynolds: "I think he's made it easier for people that struggle with gender identity issues to find acceptance. Wouldn't it be wonderful to live in a world free of judgement and pain?" 

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