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Leading Suicide Prevention Orgs Ask the 6th Circuit to Rehear Ohio Pronouns Case

The Trevor Project and the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) united today to ask the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the case of Meriwether v. Hartop (No. 20-3289). On March 26, 2021, a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit ruled in favor of a Shawnee State University professor who claimed a 1st Amendment right to refuse to address a transgender student by the student’s correct pronouns. 

The suicide prevention organizations partnered in an amicus curiae brief to emphasize the association between use of a student’s correct pronouns and lower rates of attempting suicide. They are asking the whole 6th Circuit to rehear the case, taking into account the seriousness of the harms to transgender and nonbinary youth if this panel’s ruling is allowed to stand.

The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey of over 40,000 LGBTQ youth found that transgender and nonbinary youth who reported having their pronouns respected by all or most of the people in their lives attempted suicide at half the rate of those who did not have their pronouns respected. Unfortunately, only one in five transgender and nonbinary youth reported having their pronouns respected by all or most of the people in their lives, including less than one in ten among those who primarily identified as nonbinary.

The Trevor Project and AAS were represented in this matter by pro bono counsel from Gibson Dunn, including Abbey Hudson, Shireen Barday, Sara Williams, Randi Brown, and Lavi Ben Dor.

About The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678-678.

About AAS

The American Association of Suicidology is the world’s largest membership-based suicide prevention organization. Founded in 1968 by Edwin S. Shneidman, PhD, AAS promotes the research of suicide and its prevention, public awareness programs, public education and training for professionals and volunteers. The membership of AAS includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center professionals, survivors of suicide loss, attempt survivors, and a variety of laypersons who have in interest in suicide prevention. You can learn more about AAS at http://www.suicidology.org

Read the Full Amicus Brief