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Rigged methodology of 'progressive' surveys harms LGBT youth

What is most disturbing about a new survey of LGBT youth is the methodology used in obtaining these statistics, which rely exclusively on online self-reporting.
Chad Felix Greene USA

The Trevor Project, an organization founded in 1998 to address suicide risk in LGBT youth, released its 2020, National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health. The results are highly disturbing, with an overall 40 percent of LGBT youth aged 13 to 24 stating the had seriously considered suicide in the last 12 months. But what is far more disturbing is the methodology used in obtaining these statistics which rely exclusively on online self-reporting.

While the survey confirms the fears of LGBT activists, it leaves much to be interpreted through biased eyes. The LGBT left, of course, views this as evidence of ongoing homophobia, transphobia and hate in the country, while a more objective approach would ask questions as to why universal social celebration of LGBT identity would not influence LGBT youth self-perception and well-being.

An important statistic reported indicates how LGBT youth view politics significantly influences all other metrics, and there is a very strong argument that LGBT media is causing this distress. Asking a person who has voluntarily identified with a minority group if they have experienced stressful things, including suicide automatically creates profound distress and a sense of isolation.

Here are a few highlights of the survey:

  • 48 percent of LGBTQ youth reported engaging in self-harm in the past twelve months, including over 60 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth
  • 46 percent of LGBTQ youth report they wanted psychological or emotional counseling from a mental health professional but were unable to receive it in the past 12 months
  • 86 percent of LGBTQ youth said that recent politics have negatively impacted their well-being
  • 29 percent of LGBTQ youth have experienced homelessness, been kicked out, or run away
  • 68 percent of LGBTQ youth reported symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder and 55 percent of LGBTQ youth reported symptoms of major depressive disorder in the past two weeks, including more than 3 in 4 transgender and nonbinary youth
  • Nearly 15 percent of LGBTQ respondents attempted suicide in the past twelve months, including more than 1 in 5 transgender and nonbinary youth

But the most concerning aspect of this study is the methodology. The survey states it used targeted ads to recruit volunteers aged 13 to 24 and received 60,795 responses with 40,001 being considered legitimate between December 2, 2019 and March 31, 2020. No personal information was obtained during the 150-question survey taken online. Before questions related to mental health or suicide the following statement was provided, "If at any time you need to talk to someone about your mental health or thoughts of suicide, please call The Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386."

Despite being approved by an independent review board, as stated by the survey, no parental consent was obtained for the 20 percent of respondents aged 13 to 18. Children were asked if they had seriously considered or attempted suicide in the last 12 months and their parents were never informed of this. No outside authority was either. A child self-reporting self-harm, attempted suicide or serious thoughts of suicide received no medical intervention or reports to local authorities. No follow up was conducted as no personal information was obtained.

This should be deeply, profoundly disturbing to anyone approaching this survey rationally. Consider the potential scenario in place. A 13 to 18-year-old sees an ad on social media asking about their sexual and gender identities. The child then goes through a series of questions asking if anyone in their life had tried to talk them out of their identity, diagnostic questions to assess their level of extreme and immediate depression and anxiety and if they had seriously considered or attempted self-harm or suicide recently.

The child was then left alone to ponder the questions they had just answered with absolutely no follow up or medical intervention. NBC News reported, Amy Green, the study lead and director of research at The Trevor Project admitting, "In a clinical mental health setting, survey responses like these would lead to follow-up screenings."

Another equally problematic issue is the complete lack of verification of the information provided. Based solely on the survey questions the organization confidently declares such things as 78 percent experienced conversion therapy before the age of 18. There is nothing to indicate what "conversion therapy" means in this context, but the implication is made clear. The survey reports on trivial matters such as how often a transgender or nonbinary child's pronouns were used alongside asking if they had experienced homelessness. Without any objective verification the entire survey is meaningless.

LGBT advocates have relied heavily on this type of study for some time, often justifying their actions under the guise of unsafe home environments. But responsible adults must begin demanding accountability for major organizations asking minors these kinds of questions and their irresponsible behavior in abandoning those who respond.

If nearly 30 percent of respondents stated they ran away from home and were homeless, shouldn't there be a legal obligation for law enforcement and child protection services to be alerted and involved? Shouldn't any report of self-harm or thoughts of suicide, let alone admissions to attempts, be immediately reported to the authorities and, in spite of LGBT wishes, their parents?

Why is this organization permitted to trigger children with severe mental health concerns with questions they cannot possibly consent to on their own in the first place, regardless of "informed consent" standards? More importantly, why aren’t they held accountable to the communities and families impacted by these statistics? Shouldn’t parents, local authorities and even schools be informed that 13 to 17 year olds under their care have attempted suicide this year and are suffering from severe depression and anxiety?

If these statistics are to be believed at face value then this crisis being reported should be considered more important than exploitation for media headlines. But since the entire survey is anonymous, it seems The Trevor Project, founded to help LGBT Youth in crisis is leaving the most vulnerable alone, in their homes or on the street once the survey is completed.

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Chad Felix Greene
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