Transgender suicide hotline calls quadruple after Trump memo leak
A transgender suicide hotline has received four times as many calls after it was revealed that the Trump administration is considering a proposal to legally erase trans people.
The leaked Department of Health and Human Services’ memo published in the New York Times on October 21 proposed defining a person’s sex as unchangeably male or female from birth, barring official recognition of trans people. Trump later confirmed that the White House was “looking at” imposing a new transgender policy.
This has had “direct and immediate impacts on real lives,” Sam Ames, Trans Lifeline’s executive director, told Teen Vogue.
“This is bad news, but it isn’t new news,” Ames added.
“Playing politics with civil rights of a vulnerable population has consequences. But moments like this are exactly why Trans Lifeline exists.
“Our hotline intervenes at the moment of crisis,” continued Ames, encouraging cisgender people—those who identify with the sex assigned at birth—to speak up to other cisgender people about the issues affecting transgender people’s lives, as well as donating to trans-led organisations to express support for the community.
Ames also pledged to keep fighting with the transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex people who would be affected by the HHS policy change.
The leaked memo led trans activists to hold “We Will Not Be Erased” protests outside the White House and in New York and Washington State, among other locations, and around 1,500 parents of trans children to write an open letter to “bullies” Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
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They said that the proposal was “the latest cruel attempt in a long line of attacks to diminish the existence and humanity of our children and to dismantle their basic human and civil rights.
“We want to make this very clear—when our children are under attack, we will fight like hell to protect them,” they added.
Parents of trans children from all of America’s 50 states signed the message, which continued: “We fear every day that our children will encounter bullies but we never imagined that the most threatening bullies would be in the White House.
“These children—all children—deserve to be treated with love, respect and acceptance.
“Our children cannot be reduced to a deeply flawed, debunked understanding of what makes us the people we are. Our children know who they are, and we know what they need.”
Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255 or the Trans Lifeline on 877-565-8860.