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Nikki Haley Falsely Links Rise In Girls’ Suicidal Thoughts To Trans Kids Playing Sports

Election 2024

Nikki Haley Falsely Links Rise In Girls’ Suicidal Thoughts To Trans Kids Playing Sports

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley implied that increased suicide rates among teen girls were tied to transgender girls using locker rooms when asked to define “woke” in a CNN Town Hall on Sunday night, drawing sharp backlash from mental health advocates and the LGBTQ+ community.

The former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador’s transphobic remarks came when CNN moderator Jake Tapper asked her to define “woke.”

“The idea that we have biological boys playing in girls’ sports – it is the women’s issue of our time,” Haley said.

She said she didn’t know how she would have had a conversation about the presence of transgender girls on a high school team with her daughter, who ran track in high school.

“How are we supposed to get our girls used to the fact that biological boys are in their locker room? And then they wonder why a third of our teenage girls seriously contemplated suicide last year,” Haley said. “We should be growing strong girls; confident girls.”

Haley also complained that “we have gender pronoun classes in the military now.”

“All of these things that are pushing what a small minority want on a majority of Americans?” she said. “It’s too much. It’s too much.”

When Tapper pushed back on Haley and asked if there was “room for the humanity of (trans) young people in the debate,” she said she wants to get transgender children help and therapy so they are not suicidal, but those efforts shouldn’t “cause all these other kids to feel like the pressure’s on them.”

After Haley’s comments, hundreds of mental health and LGBTQ advocates took to Twitter to push back on Haley’s suggestion that transgender students playing sports are tied to teen girls’ suicide rates, with one clinical psychologist calling it “disgusting” and calling on candidates to support transgender youth.

The Trevor Project, an organization working to end suicide among LGBTQ youth, reports that LGBTQ youth are far more likely to attempt suicide than their peers. In 2022, the organization found that 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in February released an alarming report that found nearly 1 in 3 teen girls seriously considered attempting suicide in 2021, and that 3 in 5 teen girls “felt persistently sad or hopeless” – double the rate found among boys. However, that study made no connection between suicidal ideation and the existence of transgender youths or their participation on sports teams.

A CDC report published in April found that LGBTQ students were more likely to have seriously considered, planned and attempted suicide than heterosexual students.

Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Transportation Secretary and former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, tweeted that Haley sees transgender youth “as punchlines.”

In another tweet about the incident, Buttigeg wrote: “Nikki Haley suggesting that 1/3 of American teenage girls are contemplating suicide because of the existence of trans people is an unserious, untrue, and hateful thing to say. But hate is the point, isn’t it?”

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