This was originally published on Liberal America on April 27, 2016.
We have seen a surge in hate against the transgender community this month. First, North Carolina passed their widely-hated bill, HB2. It forces transgenderpeople to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender they were born with, not the gender they identify with now.
Many companies and musical acts are boycotting the state. Even President Obama has spoken out against this bill. Just this week, a town in Alabama haspassed their own “bathroom” ordinance that can send transgender people to jail for using the “wrong” bathroom.
A transgender suicide hotline in North Carolina, Trans Lifeline, has had a HUGE spike in calls since this law has passed. They are the only transgender crisis hotline in the United States.
Here is the TransLifeline Mission Statement:
“Trans Lifeline works to end transgender suicide and improve the overallmental health of transgender people through education, advocacy, and direct service. We empower trans people to help one another, and to shape our collective efforts by drawing upon our wealth of individual experiences.”
Forty-one percent of transgender people will attempt suicide at least once in their lifetime. Comparatively, only less than five percent of the general population will attempt suicide.
A local psychotherapist, Dr. Leon Johnson, had this to say:
“We have to look at what is best for that community, so that we can help them transition and be able to be a part of the existing community that they are living in, that they are working in.”
The co-founder of Trans Lifeline, Greta Gustava Martela, says that they would normally have an upswing in calls around this time of year. She says that suicide rates rise in the spring, but this is WAY more than normal, which indicates that a specific event is causing the upswing.
These people already have to struggle with trying to be who they are. Many of them are in pain, and they need help. Hopefully, this hotline can help them find the resources they need.
If you or a loved one is transgender and needs someone to talk to, call (877) 565-8860.