The Trevor Project Joins Leading Civil Rights Groups on Amicus Brief Supporting Federal Hate Crimes Legislation

The Trevor Project, together with The Matthew Shepard Foundation, Freestate Justice, Lambda Legal, and the Anti-Defamation League have signed on to an amicus brief to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in defense of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA).

Since 2009, the HCPA has allowed the federal government to prosecute crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity as hate crimes, so long as those crimes had an effect on interstate commerce. Unfortunately, a District Court in Virginia recently overturned the conviction of an individual who admitted to viciously attacking his coworker because he thought he was gay, on the theory that “bias-motivated violence” is categorically “noneconomic” — even when the attack literally happened at an Amazon.com facility while the victim was simply doing their job, preparing to ship a package across state lines.

If allowed to stand, this narrow and clearly inappropriate interpretation would effectively erase important and groundbreaking federal protections for LGBTQ people. Hate-motivated violence against the LGBTQ community is a serious national problem, and one that LGBTQ youth worry about and discuss with us every day. In 2017, law enforcement agencies reported nearly 1,500 hate crimes motivated by gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation bias, a sharp increase over previous years — and those are just the crimes that were reported.

LGBTQ youth deserve to know that the law protects them in the strongest possible terms, which is why The Trevor Project is proud to stand with a powerful alliance of civil rights and anti-violence groups in defense of this important law. We are especially grateful to Freestate Justice for coordinating this brief.

“As we know from our work with our clients, LGBT people, in large part because the systemic and sometimes violent discrimination they encounter at work, experience poverty at disproportionately high rates. Although FreeState has worked hard to make sure that our Maryland state hate crimes law includes sexual orientation and gender identity, Matthew Shepard’s and James Byrd, Jr.’s law makes sure that protection extends to LGBT people and other vulnerable communities in all fifty states. The law carefully ensures that those who commit a hate crime in the workplace are held accountable; there is no doubt it was constitutionally applied here.” said Jennifer L. Kent, Managing Attorney, FreeState Justice.


The Trevor Project Responds: CDC Report Shows Increased Suicide Rates Lower U.S. Life Expectancy

The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ young people, responded to the CDC’s “Suicide Mortality in the United States, 1999–2017” report. Released today, the study is one in a series of three government reports and shows a drop in US life expectancy.

“Today’s CDC report highlights the significant increase in suicide rates over time, proving that it is a continued public health crisis. For 10 years suicide has been the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., but we know that young people, specifically LGBTQ youth, are particularly impacted. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for all young people. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, and nearly half of all transgender people have attempted suicide — many before the age of 25.

It’s now more important than ever to provide dedicated resources, in-depth research, legislation, and access to healthcare and education that supports LGBTQ youth and their wellness. The Trevor Project will continue fighting to save LGBTQ young lives, and will always be here for them to make sure they know that their life has value, and that they are loved and never alone.”
—Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director, The Trevor Project

If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, contact The Trevor Project’s TrevorLifeline 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. Counseling is also available via chat from 3-10 p.m. EST every day at TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting 678-678 from Monday-Friday, 3-10 p.m. EST.


Florida Becomes First State to Introduce Legislation Protecting LGBTQ Youth From Conversion Therapy in 2019 Legislative Session

Tallahassee, FL — Florida State Senator José Javier Rodríguez introduced Senate Bill 84 (SB 84) to protect LGBTQ youth from receiving conversion therapy, which falsely claims to be able to change people’s sexual orientation and gender identity, from licensed mental health practitioners, on November 21, 2018. With SB 84, Florida becomes the first state to introduce legislation to end conversion therapy in the 2019 legislative session.

“In most states it is still legal to force children into conversion therapy and that is wrong. When it comes to this debunked practice, there is no conversion and there is no therapy. So-called conversion therapy does not work because youth are who they are. They should be supported rather than shamed. More importantly, the practice we seek to ban is not therapy.” said Sen. José Javier Rodríguez (D Miami) “The long-term, even lethal, damage it does to youth is well documented. If you’re going to be a licensed practitioner in Florida, refraining from harming our youth with this debunked practice should be a basic requirement.”

A poll released in 2017 showed 71% of Floridians support banning conversion therapy for minors. Twenty local governments in Florida – both cities and counties – have adopted conversion therapy bans, which is more than in any other state in the country.

“The Trevor Project is deeply invested in ending conversion therapy in every state because we know youth who experience rejection from their family are more than 8 times more likely to attempt suicide than youth from accepting families,” said Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth. “Conversion therapy is a profoundly dangerous form of rejection with no basis in medicine or science. Unless lawmakers act to end the practice in every state, countless LGBTQ youth will be subjected to forms of conversion therapy in the next few years.”“Conversion therapy is a deceptive and utterly discredited practice that targets some of the most vulnerable in our state – LGBTQ young people,” said Jon Harris Maurer, Equality Florida’s Public Policy Director. “It’s time to put an end this dangerous abuse disguised as medical treatment.”

Equality Florida applauds José Javier Rodríguez for filing this critical legislation that would protect young people from this fraudulent practice.

“We are grateful to Senator José Javier Rodríguez for kicking off what we hope will be another successful year in the fight to end conversion therapy,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy & Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “The Trevor Project’s 50 Bills 50 States campaign works to support legislation like SB 84 to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy in every state in the country and we look forward to working with leaders and advocates in Florida to turn this bill into law.”

The Trevor Project works with national partners such as the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) as well as state leaders like Equality Florida to end conversion therapy. 34 states have historically introduced legislation to protect youth from conversion therapy; 14 states have signed them into law. Conversion therapy is widely opposed by prominent professional health associations including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

People can sign up to join The Trevor Project’s effort to end conversion therapy by texting “TREVOR” to 40649.

About The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the leading and only accredited national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under the age of 25. The Trevor Project offers a suite of crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as a peer-to-peer social network support for LGBTQ young people under the age of 25, TrevorSpace. Trevor also offers an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, a legislative advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and conducts research 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 Trevor Lifeline crisis counselors are available 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. www.TheTrevorProject.org


The Trevor Project Responds: Administration Asks Supreme Court to Hear Transgender Military Ban Immediately

The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ young people, responded to the administration’s request of the Supreme Court to let it enforce its harmful transgender military ban.

“Attempting to implement a policy that excludes transgender people from service tells them that they are not worthy be a part of their nation, and the harmful public rhetoric around these policies have real world consequences. It’s important for transgender people to know that no proposed policy can change their value, whether they choose to serve in the military or not.

The Trevor Project will continue fighting for the safety of LGBTQ young people, and we will always be here for transgender youth in crisis to let them know they deserve respect, their lives have value, and that they are never alone.” -Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project

Harmful public rhetoric like this affects transgender youth, a high-risk population for suicide who our crisis counselors hear from every day:

  • The Trevor Project received more than double the amount of crisis contacts from transgender and gender non-conforming youth following the initial trans military ban tweet and Texas “bathroom bill” introduction.
  • The number of transgender and gender non-conforming youth reaching out to Trevor’s crisis services nearly doubled in the 24 hours after The New York Times article reported on the administration’s proposed narrow and harmful definition of gender.
  • In October 2018, The Trevor Project filed an amicus brief using organizational data and unique insights in its continued effort to fight the transgender military ban.
  • In response to the last ban on transgender service members, The Trevor Project filed amicus briefs in nearly every case, and our amicus brief was cited as a pivotal factor in the previous court decision of the case, with three such citations in Doe v Trump alone.

If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, contact The Trevor Project’s TrevorLifeline 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. Counseling is also available via chat from 3-10 p.m. EST every day at TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting 678-678 from Monday-Friday, 3-10 p.m. EST.


Report: Protecting LGBTQ Youth Through Inclusive School Suicide Prevention Policies in California

School policies are an important part of suicide prevention, especially because of the amount of time young people spend at school. Released today, The Trevor Project’s new report shows that implementing legislation like California Assembly Bill 2246, which requires schools serving grades 7–12 to establish student suicide prevention policies, dramatically increases the number of policies that address the needs of high-risk populations including LGBTQ youth.

After reading hundreds of school suicide prevention policies from all across the state, The Trevor Project’s researchers found that only 3% of policies implemented before passage of AB 2246 in 2016 included LGBTQ youth, compared to more than 90% of those written afterwards. Today, 25% of California’s school suicide prevention policies still do not address LGBTQ students.

It is vital that all California policies be updated to comply with AB 2246, because studies show that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, and nearly half of all trans people have made a suicide attempt — many before the age of 25. A third of all lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are bullied at school, and almost half of them seriously consider attempting suicide, almost 4 times more likely than their straight peers.


The Trevor Project Continues to Fight Trans Military Ban With Data

The Trevor Project filed an amicus brief today with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in the case of Doe 2 v. Trump as federal lawsuits against the transgender military ban continue. The ban has been prevented from going into effect through multiple lower court rulings, but the government has appealed and continues to try to implement this discriminatory and unnecessary policy.

This amicus brief, like those The Trevor Project has filed in the earlier trans ban cases, provides the Court and the public with Trevor’s insights into the strength and resilience of transgender individuals, but also the harms of discrimination, as our data show anti-LGBTQ statements and policies by government officials correlate with significant increases in youth reaching out to our crisis services for help.

For example, The New York Times recently published an article revealing an effort within the federal government to “essentially eradicate federal recognition” of transgender people by defining “sex” by reference to “immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.” In the twenty-four hours following this article’s publication, the number of self-identified transgender youth who contacted The Trevor Project via digital crisis services nearly doubled.

This updated brief also notes the high levels of support for transgender inclusion among the population of young Americans most likely to serve in the United States military, as polls show 65 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 support comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. The transgender military ban forces them to choose between a potential career of service and their strong support for equality.

The Trevor Project was represented by pro bono counsel from Gibson Dunn, including Stuart Delery, Douglas Dreier, and Charlotte Lawson.


#YesOn3: Massachusetts Must Protect Transgender Youth

This Election Day, Massachusetts voters will be asked whether they want to keep their state’s legal protections for transgender and gender expansive youth. Passed by the legislature in 2016, this important law ensures that nobody will be discriminated against because of their gender identity in public spaces, including restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and public transportation. This nondiscrimination law has been forced onto the ballot by opponents of LGBTQ equality. The Trevor Project strongly urges Massachusetts voters to vote Yes on Question 3.

When given the basic family and community support that many of us take for granted, research shows transgender youth thrive just like their peers. Unfortunately, too often transgender and gender expansive youth face serious discrimination while just trying to go about their lives, and it is even tougher when such discrimination happens with government approval.

Taking away protections causes serious harm. Recently, The New York Times revealed an effort within the federal government to “essentially eradicate federal recognition” of transgender people by defining “sex” by reference to “immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.” In the 24 hours following this article’s publication, the number of self-identified transgender and gender non-conforming youth who contacted The Trevor Project nearly doubled.

On November 6th, we can send a clear message to transgender and gender expansive youth that they are seen, valued, and deserve to be protected under Massachusetts law.

Vote Yes on Question 3.


The Trevor Project Responds to Administration’s Disturbingly Narrow Definition of Gender

The Trevor Project, the nation’s largest and only accredited suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, responds to a disturbing New York Times report that the current administration is pursuing “defining trans Americans out of existence.” The following statement is from Trevor Project CEO and Executive Director Amit Paley.

“When a young person hears that their existence and gender identity will not be recognized by their government, they hear that they are not worthy to be a part of that nation. Transgender youth seeing this report should know that they are not alone and that their identity is valid – nothing the government does can change that,” said Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project.

“These policy decisions have real-world consequences. The Trevor Project has seen a significant rise in contacts from young people who identify as transgender or non-binary over the last year, now making up over 30% of our total crisis volume. When government takes actions targeting the transgender community, our call volume spikes even higher. The administration’s choice to deny the reality of transgender lives is reckless and dangerous.”

“Trevor will always be here to let LGBTQ youth know they are not alone, we will always fight to keep LGBTQ youth safe, and we are exploring options to push back against any policy decisions that tell LGBTQ youth they should not exist. And as always we will be available 24/7 for any and all LGBTQ youth in their moment of crisis.”

Call our 24/7 lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. Text and chat counseling is available from 3–10pm EST every day at www.thetrevorproject.org/help.

The Trevor Project is the leading and only accredited national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under the age of 25. The Trevor Project offers a suite of crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as a peer-to-peer social network support for LGBTQ young people under the age of 25, TrevorSpace. Trevor also offers an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, a legislative advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and conducts research 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 Trevor Lifeline crisis counselors are available 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. www.TheTrevorProject.org


MEDIA CONTACT:

Kevin Wong
The Trevor Project
646.576.7044
[email protected]


The Trevor Project Testifies for Inclusive Data Collection in Washington, D.C.

The Trevor Project’s Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs, Sam Brinton, testified before the Council of the District of Columbia in support of B22-0840, the LGBTQ Health Data Collection Amendment Act of 2018. This legislation would require that the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) administered in Washington, DC include questions on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Although some questions on sexual orientation and gender identity have been asked in the past, the legislation would mandate the data always be collected rather than an annual debate on its inclusion.

The testimony provided by The Trevor Project was consistently referenced by the Council members in attendance including the harrowing statistic based on YRBS data that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. Hundreds of youth from the District of Columbia contact The Trevor Project each year in crisis and by better collecting data on all youth the District will be better able to respond to this public health crisis. Councilmembers David Grosso and Robert White sincerely thanked The Trevor Project for our testimony and requested further collaboration to serve the LGBTQ youth of the District.


The Trevor Project Joins Other Youth-Serving LGBTQ Advocacy Groups on Amicus Brief Opposing Discrimination in Foster Care

The Trevor Project joined other leading organizations serving LGBTQ youth in filing an amicus brief with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to oppose religious-based discrimination by government-funded adoption and foster care agencies. The amicus brief highlights The Trevor Project’s reports of increased rates of contacts to our crisis services correlated to acts of government discrimination.

As argued in the amicus brief, allowing government contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ people who want to be foster or adoptive parents causes stigma that ultimately harms the health and security of LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system. Stigma and discrimination are often key factors which drive LGBTQ youth into child welfare systems in the first place, where they are disproportionately represented and experience increased rates of mental and physical illness.

The Trevor Project joined with FosterClub, Garden State Equality, The Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Human Rights Campaign, Mazzoni Center, National LGBTQ Task Force, Pennsylvania Youth Congress Foundation, and The True Colors Fund in filing this brief, which was assembled by Lambda Legal. Learn more about the case.