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Nex Benedict’s suicide coincides with a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ laws – and some people’s misunderstanding about transgender and nonbinary individuals

Marie-Amelie George, Wake Forest University, The Conversation on

Published in News & Features

Approximately 1.3 million American adults – meaning 0.5% of the American population – identify as transgender or nonbinary. That rate is much higher among young adults. Approximately 5% of Americans between the ages of 13 and 18 identify as transgender or nonbinary.

There is some overlap between transgender and nonbinary identity, but the two categories are distinct. Transgender individuals are people whose gender identity differs from their gender assigned at birth. Many, but not all, transgender individuals identify as male or female.

Often, transgender individuals will seek medical care, such as hormone therapy or surgery, so that their physical body matches both how they view themselves and their gender identity. However, not all do, in large part because the cost for this kind of treatment is so expensive. Insurance policies increasingly cover the costs, but deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs can be extremely high.

Transgender individuals are also more likely to be unemployed and living in poverty than most Americans. As a result, they often do not have insurance to cover the US$50,000 to $130,000 price tag of the surgeries. Others decline surgery because it is simply not right for them personally.

Some transgender individuals identify as nonbinary. Nonbinary individuals have a gender identity that does not neatly fit the traditional categories of male or female. Some nonbinary people combine elements of both genders, while others reject gender in its entirety, such that they have a gender-neutral appearance. Still others have a fluid gender, meaning they identify at times as male and other times as female. To reflect this reality, nonbinary individuals often use they/them pronouns.

The overlap between transgender and nonbinary makes it difficult to pinpoint just how many Americans identify as nonbinary.


Transgender and nonbinary individuals face widespread discrimination and high rates of violence.

Transgender individuals are more than four times more likely than cisgender people to be victims of violent crime. They are especially likely to be attacked when they try to use public restrooms. Compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers, transgender adolescents are disproportionately likely to experience psychological, physical and sexual abuse.

The majority of LGBTQ+ teens report being bullied in schools.

A 2022 report by the Trevor Project , a nonprofit focused on suicide prevention, revealed that 45% of LGBTQ+ people aged 13 to 24 seriously considered attempting suicide the previous year. Almost 20% of transgender and nonbinary young people actually tried to end their lives.


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