The following is the summary of “Comparing Substance Use and School-Based Stressors Among Black and Latinx Transgender Youth and Peers With Shared Minoritized Identities” published in the October 2022 issue of Adolescent Health by Vance, et al.
This research aims to examine correlations between substance use and stresses among transgender Black and Latinx youth (trans BLY) and transgender White and cisgender Black and Latinx adolescents (trans WY, cis BLY), at a public high school in the United States. Data from the 2015-2017 Biennial California Healthy Kids Survey were examined using a statistically significant weighted sample of California’s secondary school population. Trans BLY, trans WY, and cis BLY students from 9th and 11th grades made up the statistical sample.
School-based stressors (victimization, race-, gender-, and sexuality-based harassment) and past 30-day and lifetime substance use were compared between cohorts using logistic regression. Logistic regression was used to analyze the relationship between substance abuse and life stress for trans BLY. There were 252 trans BLY, 104 trans WY, and 19,424 cis BLY in the total sample size of 19,780. A recent study estimated that 13% (23%), 19% (39%), 27% (42%), and 29% (48%), respectively, of trans BLY had used tobacco in the past 30 days (or ever). The likelihood of trans BLY using any substance in the past 30 days or their entire lives was comparable to that of trans WY, but higher than that of cis BLY.
Higher levels of harassment based on trans BLY’s ethnicity or gender, as well as greater victimization, were linked to increased 30-day and lifetime use of all substances. Higher rates of both 30-day and lifetime cannabis and alcohol usage were seen among victims of sexual harassment. Substance abuse is quite common among trans BLY, similar to that among trans WY but more common among trans BLY than cis BLY. Drug abuse among trans young adults is linked to pressures faced by students in school.