TYFA – Ian Benson Press Release
TYFA’s Amethyst Ribbon Campaign battles
transgender youth suicide
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 5, 2007
TransYouth Family Allies announces campaign
for transgender suicide awareness
HOLLAND, MI– Today, TransYouth Family Allies (TYFA) launches the Amethyst Ribbon Campaign, an awareness project to battle suicide among transgender youth.
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The Amethyst Ribbon Campaign was established as part of the Ian Benson Project. Ian was a 16-year old affirmed male who took his own life in October 2007. Ian’s mother, TYFA’s secretary/treasurer, hopes to help other children and families avoid the pain and struggles that can lead to suicide among trans youth.
“Transgender” (or the abbreviation “trans”) describes people whose gender identity or expression differs from expectations for their physical sex characteristics or sex assigned at birth. Recent estimates conclude approximately 1 in 500 people seek surgical reassignment during their lives, with many more expressing their gender in other ways. Studies suggest that among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans youth, 50% end up ideating or attempting suicide before adulthood.
TYFA President Shannon Garcia described the symbolism of the Amethyst Ribbon Campaign. “The brilliant violet color of amethyst is also a blend of the pink and blue traditionally used to designate the male/female binary. Amethyst is a precious gem, chosen to represent how precious trans children are to their families and friends.”
TYFA Executive Director Kim Pearson said, “Ian was our friend, he was the friend of our children, he was part of our hearts and the hearts of his family. To keep Ian’s memory alive, we will help other families and children by telling the stories of our children and families, to reach out to the other Ian’s of the world. We can help them and their families find the answers. In honor of Ian and all transgender people, we ask that you share this message and vision.”
TransYouth Family Advocates is a coalition of parents, friends and caring adults dedicated to educating and raising public awareness about the medical and cultural challenges faced by children with gender variant and gender questioning identities and the families who love them.
To learn more about the Amethyst Ribbon Campaign, please visit the TYFA website at www.imatyfa.org or call 1-888-IMA-TYFA. The site includes information and resources for trans youth and their families.
Kim Pearson, Executive Director