Since I started working for Instinct, we've reported too many times about transgender deaths and murders. I say too many times, because I wish they didn't happen. I wish part of our LGBT were not being killed by people that just do not understand, do not wish to understand how being human is not just following a simple binary code you are handed at birth.
Many of us have had and are still having a hard time being L or G or B, but I do not think I could ever understand what it would be like to be T. And with this latest US Presidential election, I've chatted with many gay friends, but I haven't discussed what this may mean for the T community.
A recent Vox.com post is showing that the transgender community is talking, but it's not promising. In its piece, "Calls to a transgender suicide hotline spiked in the wake of Trump’s election," Vox.com shares the sad news.
By 10 pm on election night, calls were already streaming in to Trans Lifeline, a peer-supported suicide prevention hotline catering to transgender people. Over the following three days, Trans Lifeline saw a 500 percent increase in call volume, said Greta Gustava Martela, the executive director. And that wasn’t a coincidence.
“As a trans person, my gender identity has been politicized in this election,” Martela explained. “And I think we all hoped that this election would have a different result, and we’d be able to have some rest after the election.”
But the prospects of this happening under President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence — one of the nation’s most consistently anti-LGBTQ lawmakers — look slim. The future Trump administration has plenty of LGBTQ people worried. Trans people, in particular, are facing the president-elect’s stated promise to overturn all executive orders issued under President Obama, including a crucial 2014 order that offered nondiscrimination protections for trans government employees and contractors.
The fears pegged to Trump seemed to have manifested when reports circulated among LGBTQ people and activists, via private Facebook groups, that several trans and gender-nonconforming youth had died by suicide in the hours following the presidential election.
Some anecdotal evidence suggests transgender people, in particular, are almost constantly surrounded by news of self-inflicted deaths, which can compound the contagion theory. Transgender people make up about 0.5 percent of the general population but have long been digitally connected, finding safe havens to communicate online. A recent study led by UCLA assistant professor Ian W. Holloway found that transgender people (especially women) frequently use digital social networks to find information about legal and medical transition and access health care, and to connect with geographically distant peers who can share experiences and wisdom.
LGBTQ people are already at a greater risk of suicide than the general population, and trans people specifically have an alarmingly high suicide attempt rate. Forty-one percent of trans and gender-nonconforming adults in the US report having attempted suicide, according to the Williams Institute, a progressive think tank based at the University of California Los Angeles. For comparison, the average attempt rate for the general American population is 4.6 percent, and 10 percent among gay, lesbian, and bisexual adults. – Vox.com
For more on Vox.com's coverage, head over to "Calls to a transgender suicide hotline spiked in the wake of Trump’s election."
As I said before, I've chatted with many gay friends about the election, their stress, and what it means to our community. In the chatter, I will have to say I've been selfish and focused on the G and haven't considered the T. We are a family and our entire family may be under attack. We will need to be prepared to protect all of our members.
If you are still stressed and are a transgender member looking to reach out, here is the information for Trans Lifeline. (http://www.translifeline.org/)
This line is primarily for transgender people experiencing a crisis. This includes people who may be struggling with their gender identity and are not sure that they are transgender. While our goal is to prevent self harm, we welcome the call of any transgender person in need. We will do our very best to connect them with services that can help them meet that need. If you are not sure whether you should call or not, then please call us.
Our hotline is staffed by the true experts on transgender experience, transgender people themselves. Our volunteers are all trans identified and educated in the range of difficulties transgender people experience. Our volunteers are dedicated to improving the lives of transgender people.
Additionally, our operators will only call emergency services with your expressed consent.