June is LGBTQ Pride Month, a time to recognize the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities’ quest for equal rights. With roots in the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, the movement has turned into an annual month of celebration and activism.
This year, several news stories have thrust the transgender community into the spotlight. Here are some ways to foster understanding and support for transgender people as they face steep challenges in a changing society.
A difficult path to walk alone
Transgender adults experience higher levels of depression and anxiety than their peers with 41% of transgender adults having attempted suicide compared to less than 2% of the general population. A 2019 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that more than half of transgender and non-binary youth had seriously considered suicide. A 2021 Williams Institute study reported 30% of transgender youth had attempted suicide in the previous year.
If you or someone you know is transgender and needs to talk, here are some of the resources available.
The Trans Lifeline can be reached in the US at 1-877-565-8860 and in Canada at 1-877-330-6366
The LGBT National Hotline is available at 1-888-843-4564. They also provide a LGBT Senior Hotline at 1-888-234-7243 and LGBTQ Youth can call 1-800-246-7743 or join youth chat rooms here.
The Trevor Project crises counselors can be reached at 1-866-488-7386. Text ‘START’ to 678-678 to connect via text message, or chat online here.
The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline can be reached at 1-877-360-5428
Text ‘HOME’ to 741741 to connect with crises counselors at Crises Text Line. To connect to their counselors on WhatsApp, click here.
The Williams Institute study also showed a significant drop in suicidal thoughts when there was support and acceptance from families, classmates and coworkers. But finding ways to be supportive can be hard, especially for potential allies who are struggling to understand and accept transgender people in their lives. Here are some resources to help.
Transfamilies host free virtual parent support groups on zoom. The available sessions can be found here.
Trans Lifeline Friends & Family call-back service has counselors available. Schedule a call at 1-877-565-8860.
Gender Spectrum provides free online groups for family members, parents and caregivers here.
Transfamily Support Services offers free virtual support groups and family engagement sessions here.
PFLAG’s Straight for Equality program provides learning sessions to train trans allies in the workplace.
Facing violence for being transgender
2021 was the deadliest year on record for the transgender community, with the Human Rights Campaign recording 50 transgender and non-conforming people killed. Transgender people are also more than four times likely to be victims of violent crime than cisgender people, according to a study from the UCLA School of Law. And the Office for Victims of Crime reports that at some point in their lives, one out of every two transgender people are sexually abused or assaulted.
These resources and groups focus on helping protect the transgender population from violence.
The Anti-Violence Project offers a free 24-hour bilingual crisis intervention hotline. Call or text 1-212-714-1141 to report violence anonymously, connect to counseling, or get safety guidance and legal help. You can also report violence online here.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available at 1-800-799-7233 or by chat here. Their advocates can also provide LGBTQ resources and help create a safety plan.
Discrimination and loss of rights
Across the country, state lawmakers have introduced a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills this year, including a wave of legislation targeting trans youth and adults. These bills restrict access to bathrooms and locker rooms. Some prohibit gender-affirming health care and others try to force educators to refer to transgender students by their “biological sex.” Politicians pushing many of these bills have villainized the transgender population.
These organizations provide resources and support to help transgender people respond when their rights are infringed.
The Transgender Law Center Help Desk lists helpful resources by issue area and has an online submission form for specific questions.
The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund’s Trans Health Project helps transgender and non-binary people understand the trans-related health care available, and the steps to get the care they need.
Transathlete compiles athletic policies on trans inclusion by location and sport division for athletes, coaches and administrators.
These are just some of the challenges facing members of the transgender community. Learning more about their lives is a first step to being there for them. The GLAAD report “Understanding issues facing Transgender Americans” provides a look at the obstacles they face.
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