By John Wright
Bathroom bills in the Texas Legislature and President Donald Trump’s announcement of a ban on transgender military service members have fueled increases in calls to a national suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth.
According to the Trevor Project, which provides suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth, trans kids typically account for about 7.3 percent of the calls, texts and online chats the organization receives. Following the introduction of anti-trans bathroom bills in the Texas Legislature last month, trans youth accounted for 14.7 percent of the Trevor Project’s contacts, more than double the average. After Trump’s announcement of the military ban, the percentage of contacts from trans youth jumped to 17.5 percent.
The Trevor Project said it experienced overall increases in contacts from LGBTQ youth in Texas of 34 percent in June and 17 percent in July (see chart above). Neither of those increases was as large as the 40 percent spike in September 2015, in response to anti-trans advertising from opponents of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.
“This data makes clear that our elected officials can no longer ignore that their anti-transgender rhetoric is putting lives at risk,” Trevor Project CEO and Executive Director Amit Paley said in a news release. “Anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and legislation directly leads to crisis among our community’s young people. While The Trevor Project will continue to be there for them around the clock, our elected officials must stop throwing young people into crisis for political gain. Discrimination is un-American, and we will hold to account those legislators who attack the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community.”
If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, Trevor Lifeline crisis counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 866-488-7386. Text and chat counseling is available from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Central time daily at www.thetrevorproject.org/help.