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

BY: Josh Weaver

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.

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