Trevor Joins 436 Organizations in Opposition of the American Health Care Act

View the letter below and here.

May 30, 2017

The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader, United States Senate

The Honorable Charles Schumer, Minority Leader, United States Senate

Dear Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer,
The undersigned organizations are writing to share our views on critical provisions we believe must be included in any legislation modifying the nation’s health care system. We also want to share serious concerns with several of the reforms included in the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA).

We collectively represent consumers, families, providers, health care and social service professionals, criminal justice professionals, advocates and allied organizations who are committed to meaningful and comprehensive policies to reduce the toll of substance use disorders and mental illness through prevention, treatment and recovery support services.

We recognize that the current law can be improved and that there are problems that need to be fixed. However, we do not support changes to the health care system that would result in reduced access to substance use disorder and mental health treatment, including changes that would cap federal funding for Medicaid, end the Medicaid expansion, and eliminate benefit protections for Americans insured through the small group and individual markets. In the face of the opioid overdose and suicide epidemics, equitable access to a full continuum of mental health and substance use disorder treatment services, including medications to treat substance use disorders and mental illness, must be an essential component of health care coverage. It is also critical that substance use disorders and mental illness be covered on par with other medical conditions consistent with the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA).

As the Senate takes up health reform legislation, we ask that the Senate bill:

  • Maintain benefit protections for mental health and substance use disorder treatment and recovery support services through the exchanges and individual/small group markets, and maintain requirements that those benefits be offered at parity with medical benefits
  • Maintain Medicaid’s current financing structure, including the Medicaid expansion

More than 20 million Americans currently have health care coverage due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including millions of Americans with substance use disorders and mental illness. This coverage is a critical lifeline for these individuals, many of whom were unable to access effective treatment before the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility to low-income adults, and its requirement that Medicaid expansion plans and plans sold in the individual and small group markets cover substance use disorder and mental health treatment services at parity with medical and surgical services.

The Medicaid expansion in particular has led to significant increases in coverage and treatment access for persons with substance use disorders and mental illness. In states that expanded Medicaid, the share of people with substance use disorders or mental illness who were hospitalized but uninsured fell from about 20 percent in 2013 to 5 percent by mid-2015, and Medicaid expansion has been associated with an 18.3 percent reduction in the unmet need for substance use disorder treatment services among low-income adults. Rolling back the Medicaid expansion and/or fundamentally changing Medicaid’s financing structure to cap spending on health care services will certainly reduce access to evidence-based treatments and reverse much or all progress made on the opioid crisis last year. Moreover, the loss of Medicaid-covered mental health and
substance use disorder services for adults would result in more family disruption and out-of-home placements for children, significant trauma which has its own long-term health effects and a further burden on a child welfare system that is struggling to meet the current demand for foster home capacity.

Medicaid funding for mental health and substance use disorder treatment services for low-income populations must be predictable, sustainable, and integrated with financing mechanisms for general medical care to ensure consistent access to treatment and support the long-term development and retention of a substance use disorder and mental health clinician workforce. Capping federal Medicaid funding through per-capita caps or block grants would strain state budgets and likely force states to cut benefits, lower provider reimbursement rates, and/or limit access to care. These changes would be devastating to states grappling with the current opioid overdose and suicide epidemics.

The ACA’s Medicaid expansion, Essential Health Benefit requirements for mental health and substance use disorder treatment coverage, and extension of parity protections to the individual and small group market have surely reduced the burden of the opioid misuse and overdose and suicide epidemics and saved lives. As you consider this legislation, we ask that you ensure substance use disorder and mental health treatment benefits continue to be available to Americans enrolled in the individual, small and large group markets as well as Medicaid plans and that these benefits are compliant with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.

Finally, throughout this process, we implore you to keep in mind how your decisions will affect the millions of Americans suffering from substance use disorders and mental illness who may lose their health care coverage entirely or see reductions in benefits that impede access to needed treatment.

Sincerely,

1. Acadia Healthcare
2. Adcare Educational Institute
3. Addiction Education Society
4. Addiction Haven
5. Addiction Resource Council
6. Addiction Services Council
7. Addiction Policy Forum
8. Addiction Treatment Center of New England
9. Addictions Connections Resource
10. Advocates for Recovery Colorado
11. Advocates, Inc.
12. Alabama Society of Addiction Medicine
13. Alano Club of Portland
14. Alcohol & Addictions Resource Center
15. Alcohol/Drug Council of North Carolina
16. Alternatives Unlimited, Inc.
17. Amesbury Psychological Center, Inc.
18. American Correctional Association
19. American Federation of State, County and Municipal, Employees (AFSCME)
20. American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
21. American Academy of Pediatrics
22. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
23. American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD)
24. American Association of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
25. American Association on Health and Disability
26. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
27. American Dance Therapy Association
28. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
29. American Group Psychotherapy Association
30. American Medical Student Association
31. American Mental Health Counselors Association
32. American Nurses Association
33. American Public Health Association
34. American Psychiatric Association
35. American Psychological Association
36. American Society of Addiction Medicine
37. A New PATH
38. Anxiety and Depression Association of America
39. Arc of South Norfolk, The
40. Arise & Flourish
41. Arizona’s Children Association
42. Arizona Council of Human Service Providers
43. Arizona Society of Addiction Medicine
44. Arkansas Society of Addiction Medicine
45. Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare
46. Association for Behavioral Healthcare of Massachusetts
47. Association for Community Affiliated Plans
48. Association for Community Human Service Agencies
49. Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO)
50. Association of Flight Attendants – CWA, AFL-CIO
51. Association of Persons Affected by Addiction (APAA)
52. Association of Recovery Schools
53. Association of Recovery Community Organizations
54. Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
55. A Stepping Stone to Success
56. Atlantic Prevention Resources, Inc.
57. Avanti Wellness
58. BAMSI
59. Bangor Area Recovery Network, Inc.
60. Bay Cove Human Services
61. Bay State Community Services, Inc.
62. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
63. Behavioral Health Network, Inc.
64. Better Life in Recovery
65. Bill Wilson Center
66. Boston Alcohol and Substance Abuse Programs, Inc.
67. Boston Healthcare for the Homeless
68. Boston Public Health Commission
69. BreakingTheCycles
70. Bridge of Central Massachusetts, Inc., The
71. Bridgewell
72. Brien Center for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, The
73. Brookline Community Mental Health Center
74. Bullhook Community Health Center, Inc.
75. Burke Recovery
76. California Consortium of Addiction Programs & Professionals
77. California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies
78. California Society of Addiction Medicine
79. Cambridge Health Alliance
80. Camelot Care Centers, Inc.
81. Cape Cod Healthcare Centers for Behavioral Health
82. Capital Area Project Vox
83. Casa Esperanza
84. Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families
85. Catholic Charities Family Counseling and Guidance Center
86. Catholic Family Center
87. Center for Human Development
88. Center for Open Recovery
89. Center for Recovery and Wellness Resources
90. Central City Concern
91. Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council
92. Chicago Recovering Communities Coalition (CRCC)
93. Child & Family Services, Inc.
94. Child and Family Services of New Hampshire
95. Children’s Friend, Inc.
96. Children’s Home Society of Washington
97. Children’s Law Center
98. Children’s Services of Roxbury
99. CleanSlate Centers
100. Clergy for a New Drug Policy
101. Clinical and Support Options, Inc.
102. Clinical Social Work Association
103. Coalition of Addiction Students and Professionals Pursuing Advocacy (CASPPA)
104. Colorado Society of Addiction Medicine
105. Community Catalyst
106. Communities for Recovery
107. Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)
108. Community Counseling of Bristol County, Inc.
109. Community-Minded Enterprises
110. Community Oriented Correctional Health Services (COCHS)
111. Community Services Institute
112. Community Solutions
113. Community Substance Abuse Centers
114. Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR)
115. Connecticut Society of Addiction Medicine
116. Counselors Obediently Preventing Substance Abuse (COPS)
117. Cutchins Programs for Children and Families
118. DarJune Recovery Support Services & Café
119. Dash for Recovery
120. Davis Direction Foundation – The Zone
121. DC Fights Back
122. DC Recovery Community Alliance
123. Delphi Behavioral Health Group/MHD
124. Desert Eagle Addiction Recovery
125. Detroit Recovery Project, Inc.
126. Dimock Community Health Center
127. Disability Rights Pennsylvania
128. Doctors for Recovery
129. Dorchester Recovery Initiative
130. Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of Pennsylvania (DASPOP)
131. Drug Policy Alliance
132. Drug Prevention Resources
133. East Bay Agency for Children
134. Easy Does It, Inc.
135. Eating Disorders Coalition
136. Edinburg Center, The
137. Eliot Community Human Services
138. El Paso Alliance
139. Engaged Recovery Community Services
140. Faces and Voices of Recovery
141. Facing Addiction
142. Family Focused Treatment Association
143. Family Service Association
144. Family Service of Greater Boston
145. FAVOR Greenville
146. FAVOR Low Country
147. FAVOR Mississippi Recovery Advocacy Project
148. FAVOR Pee Dee
149. FAVOR Tri-County
150. FED UP! Coalition
151. Fellowship Foundation Recovery Community Organization
152. Fenway Health
153. FHR
154. Florida Society of Addiction Medicine
155. Floridians for Recovery
156. Foundation for Recovery
157. Friends of Recovery – New York
158. FSA – Family Service Agency
159. Futures of Palm Beach
160. G III Associates
161. GAAMHA
162. Gandara Center
163. Georgia Council on Substance Abuse
164. Georgia Society of Addiction Medicine
165. Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice
166. Gosnold on Cape Cod
167. Granite Pathways
168. Greater Macomb Project Vox
169. Greater Philadelphia Association for Recovery Education
170. Great South Bay Coalition
171. Greater Cincinnati Recovery Resource Collaborative (GCRRC)
172. Griffin Recovery Enterprises
173. Harm Reduction Coalition
174. High Point Treatment Center
175. Hillview Mental Health Center, Inc.
176. HIV Medicine Association
177. Home for Little Wanderers, The
178. HOPE for New Hampshire Recovery
179. Hope House Addiction Services
180. Horizon Health Services
181. IC&RC
182. Illinois Association for Behavioral Health
183. Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (IARF)
184. Indiana Society of Addiction Medicine
185. International Nurses Society on Addictions
186. Institute for Health and Recovery
187. Iowa Association of Community Providers
188. Iowa Behavioral Health Association
189. Italian Home for Children, Inc.
190. Jackson Area Recovery Community
191. Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JF&CS)
192. Joint Coalition on Health
193. Jordan’s Hope for Recovery
194. Judge Baker Children’s Center
195. Juneau Recovery Community
196. Justice Resource Institute (JRI)
197. Kentucky Society of Addiction Medicine
198. KEY Program, Inc., The
199. Kyes 2 a 2nd Chance
200. Lahey Health Behavioral Services
201. Lakeshore Foundation
202. Latah Recovery Center
203. Legal Action Center
204. Lifehouse Recovery Connection
205. Lifeline Connections
206. Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.
207. Long Island Recovery Association (LIRA)
208. Lost Dreams Awaken Center, Inc.
209. Lotus Peer Recovery/SoberKerrville
210. Lowell Community Health Center, Inc.
211. Lowell House, Inc.
212. LUK, Inc.
213. Madison County Council on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse
214. Magnolia Addiction Support
215. Maine Alliance for Addiction Recovery
216. Mariah’s Mission Fund of the Mid-Shor Community Foundation
217. Mark Garwood SHARE Foundation
218. Martha’s Vineyard Community Services
219. Maryland-DC Society of Addiction Medicine
220. Maryland House Detox
221. Maryland Recovery Organization Connecting Communities (M-ROCC)
222. Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR)
223. Massachusetts Society of Addiction Medicine
224. McShin Foundation
225. Mental Health Association
226. Message Carriers of Pennsylvania, Inc.
227. Messengers of Recovery Awareness
228. MHA of Greater Lowell
229. Michigan’s Children
230. Michigan Recovery Voices
231. Michigan Society of Addiction Medicine
232. Middlesex Human Service Agency, Inc
233. Mid-Michigan Recovery Services, Inc.
234. Midwest Society of Addiction Medicine
235. Mi-HOPE – Michigan Heroin & Opiate Prevention and Education
236. Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs (MACMHP)
237. Minnesota Recovery Connection
238. Minnesota Society of Addiction Medicine
239. Missouri Recovery Network
240. MOBER
241. Mountain View Prevention Services, Inc.
242. NAADAC – the Association for Addiction Professionals
243. National Alliance for Medication-Assisted Recovery (NAMA)
244. National Alliance on Mental Illness
245. National Alliance on Mental Illness – San Mateo County
246. National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health
247. National Alliance to End Homelessness
248. National Association for Rural Mental Health
249. National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers
250. National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists
251. National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
252. National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD)
253. National Association for Children’s Behavioral Health
254. National Association for Rural Mental Health
255. National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors
256. National Association of County & City Health Officials
257. National Association of Drug Court Professionals
258. National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
259. National Council for Behavioral Health
260. National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse
261. National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence
262. National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of E. San Gabriel & Pomona Valleys
263. National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence–Greater Phoenix
264. National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence – Maryland
265. National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence – San Diego
266. National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of the San Fernando Valley
267. National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse-St. Louis Area
268. National Disability Rights Network
269. National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health
270. National Health Care for the Homeless Council
271. National League for Nursing
272. National Safety Council
273. Navigate Recovery Gwinnett
274. Nevada Society of Addiction Medicine
275. New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc.
276. New Jersey Society of Addiction Medicine
277. New Life Counseling & Wellness Center, Inc.
278. New Mexico Society of Addiction Medicine
279. New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services
280. New York Society of Addiction Medicine
281. New York State Council for Behavioral Health
282. NFI Massachusetts, Inc.
283. NMSAS Recovery Center
284. No Health without Mental Health
285. North Charles, Inc.
286. North Cottage Program, Inc.
287. Northeast Center for Youth and Families, The
288. Northern New England Society of Addiction Medicine
289. Northern Ohio Recovery Association (NORA)
290. Northwest Indian Treatment Center
291. North Suffolk Mental Health Association, Inc.
292. Northern Rivers Family Services
293. North Carolina Society of Addiction Medicine (NCSAM)
294. O’Brien House
295. Ohio Society of Addiction Medicine (OHSAM)
296. Oklahoma Citizen Advocates for Recovery & Treatment Association (OCARTA)
297. Old Colony YMCA
298. Open Doorway of Cape Cod
299. Oregon Recovery High School
300. Oregon Society of Addiction Medicine
301. Overcoming Addiction Radio
302. Parity Implementation Coalition
303. Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
304. Partners in Prevention/National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Hudson County, Inc.
305. P.E.E.R Wellness Center, Inc.
306. PEER360 Recovery Alliance
307. Pennsylvania Recovery Organization – Achieving Community Together – (PRO-ACT)
308. Pennsylvania Recovery Organizations Alliance (PRO-A)
309. Pennsylvania Society of Addiction Medicine
310. People Advocating Recovery – PAR
311. Phoenix Houses of New England
312. Phoenix Multisport Boston
313. Pine Street Inn
314. Pivot, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council of Jefferson County, Inc.
315. PLR Athens
316. Pretrial Justice Institute
317. Prevention Network OCAA
318. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association
319. Putnam Family & Community Services, Inc.
320. RASE Project
321. REAL- Michigan (Recovery, Education, Advocacy & Leadership)
322. Recover Project/Western MA Training
323. Recovery Allies Of West Michigan
324. RecoveryATX
325. Recovery Café Seattle
326. Recovery Community Foundation of Forsyth
327. Recovery Communities of North Carolina
328. Recovery Community Of Durham
329. Recovery Consultants of Atlanta
330. Recovery Data Solutions
331. Recovery – Friendly Taos County
332. Recovery Idaho, Inc.
333. Recovery is Happening
334. RecoveryNC (Governors Institute on Substance Abuse)
335. Recovery Point at HER Place
336. Recovery Point of Bluefield
337. Recovery Point of Charleston
338. Recovery Point of Huntington
339. Recovery Point of Parkersburg
340. Recovery Point of West Virginia
341. Recover Wyoming
342. reGROUP
343. Rhode Island Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts (RICAREs)
344. Riverside Community Care
345. Robby’s Voice
346. ROCovery Fitness
347. Rockland Council on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependence, Inc.
348. Sandusky Artisans Recovery Community Center
349. Sandy Hook Promise
350. Serenity Sistas
351. ServiceNet
352. Shatterproof
353. SMART Recovery
354. Solano Recovery Project
355. Solutions Recovery, Inc.
356. Sonoran Prevention Works
357. South Arkansas Regional Health Center, Inc
358. Sound Community Services, Inc.
359. South Middlesex Opportunity Council, Inc. (SMOC)
360. South Bay Community Services
361. South Carolina Society of Addiction Medicine
362. South Central Human Relations Center
363. South End Community Health Center
364. South Shore Mental Health
365. Southwest Washington Recovery Coalition
366. Spectrum Health Systems, Inc.
367. SpiritWorks Foundation
368. Springfield Recovery Community Center
369. Springs Recovery Connection
370. SSTAR
371. STEP Industries
372. Steppingstone, Incorporated
373. Student Assistance Services Corp
374. Substance Use and Mental Health Leadership Council of Rhode Island
375. Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc.
376. Tennessee Society of Addiction Medicine
377. Texas Society of Addiction Medicine
378. The Addict’s Parents United (TAP United)
379. The Alliance
380. The Bridge Foundation
381. The Bridge Way School
382. The Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice
383. The Chris Atwood Foundation
384. The Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse
385. The Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse for Greater New Orleans
386. The DOOR – DeKalb Open Opportunity for Recovery
387. The Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice
388. The Kennedy Forum
389. The Ohana Center
390. The Recovery Channel
391. The Rest of Your Life
392. The Trevor Project
393. The Village Family Services
394. The Village Project, Inc.
395. Tia Hart Recovery Community Program
396. T.O.R.C.H Inc.
397. Toward Independent Living and Learning, TILL, Inc.
398. Treatment Communities of America
399. Trilogy Recovery Community
400. Two Guys and a Girl
401. UMass Memorial Community Healthlink, Inc.
402. United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
403. Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness (USARA)
404. Valley Hope
405. Veterans Inc.
406. Vermont Council of Developmental and Mental Health Services
407. Vermont Recovery Network
408. Victory Programs, Inc.
409. Vinfen
410. Virginia Association of Recovery Residences
411. Voice for Adoption
412. Voices of Hope for Cecil County
413. Voices of Recovery San Mateo County
414. Volunteers of America of Massachusetts, Inc.
415. WAI-IAM, Inc. and RISE Recovery Community
416. Walker, Inc.
417. Washtenaw Recovery Advocacy Project (WRAP)
418. Washington Federation of State Employees
419. Washington Recovery Alliance
420. Washington Society of Addiction Medicine
421. Watershed Treatment Programs
422. Wayside Youth & Family Support Network
423. WEConnect
424. Wellspring Recovery Services
425. West Virginia Society of Addiction Medicine
426. WholeLife Recovery Community/ Arizona Recovery Coalition
427. Wisconsin Recovery Community Organization (WIRCO)
428. Wisconsin Society of Addiction Medicine
429. Wisconsin Voices for Recovery
430. Wyoming County CARES
431. Yoga of Recovery
432. Young Invincibles
433. Young People in Recovery
434. Young People in Recovery – Los Angeles
435. Youth Opportunities Upheld, Inc.
436. Youth Villages


Trevor Responds to Presidential Executive Order Promoting Religious Liberty

Today, on the National Day of Prayer, President Trump signed an Executive Order directing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “issue guidance interpreting religious liberty protections in Federal law.”  Sessions is known for his strong anti-LGBT equality policies.  Many people were previously aware that Trump was likely to sign an executive order dealing with so-called “religious liberty,” which we know is nothing but a license to discriminate, particularly against the LGBTQ+ community.

In his remarks, Trump said, “With this Executive Order we make clear that the federal government will never ever penalize any person for their protected religious beliefs… that’s why I am directing the Department of Justice to develop new rules to ensure these religious protections are afforded to all Americans… that is why I am signing an Executive Order to defend the freedom of religion and speech in America.”

Trump’s signed order did not provide any new religious freedom protections that would specifically allow individuals to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals, but it did, however, direct the Department of Justice to develop rules to ensure that people aren’t punished for exercising their freedom of religion.  “In reality this means that although Trump didn’t issue a broad “religious freedom” order aimed at the LGBTQ+ community, he essentially directed the Department of Justice to do so through regulations,” said Trevor Project Director of Government Affairs Amy Loudermilk.  “In sum, the fight is far from over and the rhetoric about what to expect down the line is very concerning. We will continue to monitor and respond as necessary.”

The Trevor Project is committed to continuing to work with our LGBTQ and allied organizational colleagues across the country, and we will stand strong against any future negative actions against our community.

The Trevor Project is the leading and only accredited national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people under the age of 25.  The Trevor Project offers a suite of crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifeline, TrevorText, 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 Opposes HB 609, the Montana Locker Room Privacy Act

March 28, 2017

The Honorable Chairman Alan Doane House Committee on the Judiciary

268 County Road 521

Bloomfield, MT 59315

Dear Chairman Doane:

The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth (LGBTQ) writes to strongly urge you to vote against HB 609, the Montana Locker Room Privacy Act. Many organizations are weighing in on the devastating impacts this bill will have on transgender youth, but it is also critically important that you consider the public health impact this bill will have on the transgender youth of Montana.

The Trevor Project serves youth under 25 and works to save young lives through our accredited free and confidential lifeline, secure instant messaging services which provide live help and intervention, a social networking community for LGBTQ youth, in-school workshops, educational materials, online resources, and advocacy.

Unfortunately, there is a great need for an organization such as Trevor. Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. (i) While this alone is shocking enough, it pales in comparison to the statistics regarding transgender youth. In a recent national survey, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25. (ii)

There are many factors that contribute to the high suicide rate for transgender youth: lack of understanding and awareness from others: the rejection of family and friends; bullying; mental health challenges; discrimination and societal stigmatization. If HB 609 is allowed to become law, this ostracizing policy will become one more brick on the backs of transgender youth who are already on the verge of collapsing from too much weight.

Not being allowed to use the restroom or locker room consistent with one’s gender identity can cause significant psychological and social distress. In fact, research has shown a high correlation between transgender young people being denied the right to use the appropriate bathroom and suicidality. (iii) The spread of knowledge that a young person is transgender by others because one requests a reasonable accommodation can lead to severe bullying and violence, including homicide.  Every year in the United States, transgender individuals are killed simply because of who they are. This year alone at least eight transgender individuals have been murdered in the United States. (iv)   Living one’s life as a transgender individual is brave, but it’s also very risky.

Many cities and states have laws explicitly allowing transgender individuals to use the restroom consistent with their gender identity. (v) Since the passage of those laws there hasn’t been a single case of a person posing as a transgender individual to gain access to a restroom for the purpose of carrying out a sexual assault. (vi) Therefore, the idea behind this bill to “protect” children was actually built on a false premise and passing it does nothing to help protect students from predators. In addition, as discussed above, allowing this bill to pass may cause significant suffering for transgender youth in Montana. This should be of particular concern for legislators because Montana currently has the third highest rate of suicide deaths of all fifty states. In 2015, the most current year for which we have data, Montana had a total of 272 deaths by suicide. The national average of suicide deaths is 13.8 per 100,000 residents, Montana’s is 26.3, almost double that of the national average. (vii) In the past year, Trevor has had almost 200 calls, chats and texts from youth in Montana that include transgender youth in mental health crises or youth who were struggling with suicidal ideation. We don’t want the sometimes fragile mental health of transgender youth to possibly be made any worse through public policy that actively discriminates and ostracizes them.

In order to ameliorate this serious public health issue facing Montana, we strongly urge you to vote against HB 609. Should you have any questions or comments please contact Amy Loudermilk, Associate Director of Government Affairs at
or 202-391-0834.

Sincerely,

Steve Mendelsohn

Interim Executive Director

i Kann, L., O’Malley Olsen, E., McManus, T., Kinchecn, S., Chyen, D., Harris, W. A., Wechsler, H. (2011). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contracts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students Grades 9-12 – Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, Selected Sites, United States, 2001-2009, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 60(SS07), 1-133.

ii James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality

iii Seelman, Kristie L. (2016). Transgender Adults’ Access to College Bathrooms and Housing and Relationship to Suicidality. Journal of Homosexuality. 63(10), pp. 1378-1399. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/citedby/10.1080/00918369.2016.1157998?scroll=top&needAccess=true

ivSchmider, Alex. (2017). GLAAD calls for increased and accurate media coverage of transgender murders GLAAD. http://www.glaad.org/blog/glaad-calls-increased-and-accurate-media-coverage-transgender-murders

v American Civil Liberties Association. Know Your Rights: Transgender People and the Law. Accessed at: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/transgender-people-and-law

vi Brinker, Luke and Maza, Carlos. (2014, March 20). 15 Experts Debunk Right-Wing Transgender Bathroom Myth. Media Matters. Accessed at: http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/03/20/15-experts-debunk-right-wing-transgender-bathro/198533

vii Drapeau, C. W., & McIntosh, J. L. (for the American Association of Suicidology). (2016). U.S.A. suicide 2015: Official final data. Washington, DC: American Association of Suicidology, dated December 23, 2016, downloaded from http://www.suicidology.org.


National LGBTQ Groups Oppose Confirmation of Judge Gorsuch to Supreme Court

The Honorable Charles Grassley Chairman
Senate Committee on the Judiciary

224 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein Ranking Member
Senate Committee on the Judiciary

152 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510

RE: National LGBT Groups Oppose Confirmation of Judge Gorsuch to Supreme Court

Dear Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein:

The undersigned national advocacy organizations, representing the interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and people living with HIV, oppose the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to be an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court. After a comprehensive review of Judge Gorsuch’s record, we have concluded that his views on civil rights issues are fundamentally at odds with the notion that LGBT people are entitled to equality, liberty, justice and dignity under the law.

We wish to call to your attention the following aspects of Judge Gorsuch’s record and philosophy that are of particular concern to our organizations and our constituents, and that raise crucial questions of grave consequence to LGBT people, everyone living with HIV, and anyone who cares about these communities.

The Dangers of “Originalism.” Judge Gorsuch professes to be an “originalist.” (1) This philosophy treats the Constitution as frozen in time, meaning that, unless the Constitution has been amended to explicitly protect certain rights, individuals have no more rights today than they did in 1789. (2) This philosophy essentially writes LGBT people out of the Constitution. A few examples of how Judge Gorsuch’s approach would manifest itself in specific areas of the law illustrate why we believe that Judge Gorsuch poses such a grave threat to our community:

Fundamental Rights. We are concerned that Judge Gorsuch’s writings, including his book on assisted suicide, (3) reveal his open hostility toward the very existence of constitutionally protected fundamental rights. No one can read that book and come away with any reasonable doubt that Judge Gorsuch is deeply skeptical that our Constitution protects any fundamental rights beyond those expressly enumerated in the Bill of Rights. Among these unenumerated, yet well-established, fundamental rights are the rights to privacy, autonomy and self-determination, the right to parent, the right to procreative freedom, the right to engage in private consensual adult relationships, and the fundamental right to marry.

Although these rights are important to everyone, they are essential for the LGBT community. These are the rights that have been the lynchpin of our legal progress and that underlie the series of decisions—from Lawrence to Windsor to Obergefell (4) —that have transformed the place of LGBT people in our society. Based on his extensive record, there can be no doubt that, had he been on the Court, Judge Gorsuch would have rejected each of these basic rights. Indeed, as discussed further below, he has been openly critical of same-sex couples for even seeking to vindicate their constitutional rights, including the right to marry, through litigation.

We urge the Committee to press Judge Gorsuch to explain on his views about fundamental rights. For example:

  • Does he believe that there is a fundamental right to privacy, and if so, does the right as he understands it protect consensual adult sexual relationships?
  • Does he believe that the Constitution protects a fundamental right to marry? The right to access contraception? The right to decide whether to continue a pregnancy?

Judge Gorsuch’s articulated judicial philosophy is far outside the legal and social mainstream, and would significantly disrupt Americans’ expectations about the rights that they enjoy under the Constitution. His views should be as frightening to others as they are to the LGBT community. The Committee should require Judge Gorsuch to explain what he means when he describes himself as an “originalist.”

Equal Protection. An originalist view is hostile to the notion that laws targeting historically disfavored groups warrant any form of heightened scrutiny, with the exception of laws that discriminate on the basis of race. Because, in his view, the drafters of the Fourteenth Amendment did not intend to prohibit sex discrimination, Justice Scalia regularly voted against heightened constitutional protections for women. (5)

Judge Gorsuch has praised Justice Scalia, and presumably shares the late Justice’s view that laws targeting women for discrimination should receive nothing more than so-called “rational basis review.” In a 2016 article, Judge Gorsuch praised Justice Scalia’s approach to equal protection, and agreed that “judges should . . . strive (if humanly and so imperfectly) to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be.” (6)

The suggestion that sex-based classifications should not trigger heightened judicial scrutiny discrimination is far outside the mainstream, and has been rejected by the Supreme Court on numerous occasions. (7) If Judge Gorsuch adheres to Justice Scalia’s view that laws discriminating on the basis of gender should not be subjected to heightened scrutiny, then Judge Gorsuch would certainly find nothing wrong with laws that single out LGBT people for discrimination, so long as someone somewhere could conjure up some other reason for passing such a law.

On numerous occasions, the Supreme Court has struck down laws that were passed to make LGBT people “strangers to the law”—an anti-gay ballot initiative in Colorado,8 discriminatory state marriage laws, (9) and a federal law prohibiting recognition of same- sex couples’ marriages. (10) What level of scrutiny would an “originalist” like Judge Gorsuch apply to such laws? Judge Gorsuch should be asked to state his views on the record and required to explain how this approach can possibly be squared with existing Supreme Court precedents striking down laws that single out LGBT people for harmful, unequal treatment.

Role of Courts. Compounding the damage that would result from such a narrow view of the Constitution, Judge Gorsuch has expressed disapproval of people resorting to the courts at all to vindicate their civil rights. For example, in 2005, Judge Gorsuch wrote that “American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom . . . as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage” to other issues. (11) He has also called private civil rights litigation “bad for the country.” (12) How can any members of historically persecuted groups, including LGBT people, have confidence that Judge Gorsuch would approach their specific cases with an open mind? The Committee should press these issues in the hearing, as this appointment would last long beyond the term of this particular President. Rather, the damage that could be done by this nominee could span generations.

In numerous other areas as well, Judge Gorsuch poses a significant threat to the LGBT community. In fact, his views are even more extreme and outside the mainstream than Justice Scalia’s, whom Judge Gorsuch is proposed to replace.

Approach to Statutory Construction.  Justice Scalia was a strict textualist, which meant he viewed as irrelevant whether Congress intended a particular understanding and application of the law. Instead, he focused simply on the words of the law as written. Consequently, Justice Scalia found that Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination applies to same-sex sexual harassment even though “male-on-male sexual harassment in the workplace was assuredly not the principal evil Congress was concerned with when it enacted Title VII.” (13) Justice Scalia also observed, “[S]tatutory prohibitions often go beyond the principal evil to cover reasonably comparable evils, and it is ultimately the provisions of our laws rather than the principal concerns of our legislators by which we are governed.” (14)

As set forth in the letters of other civil rights groups, Judge Gorsuch has taken an extremely narrow view of civil rights laws. (15) Indeed, one Stanford Law Review article analyzing his civil rights jurisprudence concluded:

Judge Gorsuch presents himself as a restrained judge. But that “restraint” often translates to extreme results when applied to legal rights open to interpretation. By attempting to hew to the narrowest reading of rights- creating text, Judge Gorsuch creates new understandings of the law, leaving litigants with limited access to courts and restricting the reach of constitutional and statutory protections. (16)

Although he claims to be an adherent of Justice Scalia’s philosophy, would Judge Gorsuch agree that laws like Title VII “often go beyond the principal evil to cover reasonably comparable evils,” or would he, true to his Court of Appeals record, adopt an artificially narrow reading of the statute’s text in order to achieve his preferred, backwards-looking policy outcome? The Committee should press him on this point, as the civil rights of millions of Americans hang in the balance.

Religious Exemptions from Laws that Someone Believes Would Make Them “Complicit” in Actions of Others. In Employment Division v. Smith, Justice Scalia wrote that the First Amendment has never given individuals a right to opt out of laws that, in their view, burden their exercise of religion. (17)

Yet, in his 10th Circuit decision in Hobby Lobby, Judge Gorsuch insisted instead that any individual should be able to opt out of any law that, in that person’s view, makes them “complicit” in conduct of another considered to be immoral, regardless of how compelling the state’s interest in enforcing the law. (18) In Hobby Lobby, that meant a large for-profit corporation could ignore the requirement in the Affordable Care Act that employer-provided health insurance for employees must include coverage for birth control among basic care options.  Fortunately, the Supreme Court did not adopt Judge Gorsuch’s extreme approach, and made clear that an individual’s claim of religious liberty may not “unduly restrict other persons, such as employees, in protecting their own interests, interests the law deems compelling.” (19)

The Committee should interrogate Judge Gorsuch on his position in this area, as his views on “religious complicity” go well beyond anything that currently exists in American jurisprudence. For example:

  • Does employer-provided health care that includes infertility care make an employer “complicit” in a decision of a non-married couple to have children out of wedlock?
  • Would a law requiring that gender transition-related health care not be excluded from employee health plans make the employer “complicit” in an employee’s decision to undertake a gender transition?
  • Does providing health insurance coverage for an employee’s same-sex spouse make an employer “complicit” in that employee’s same-sex relationship?
  • Does providing coverage for medications such as PrEP, which prevents HIV infection, make an employer “complicit” in the employee’s private sexual conduct?

The American people are entitled to know more about Judge Gorsuch’s views on these subjects, so that they can understand how his approach could potentially impact their rights and their daily interactions with employers, physicians, and other service providers.

Finally, there are other areas where Judge Gorsuch’s views appear to be far outside the mainstream, and to warrant vigorous inquiry:

Relevance of Science to Legal Decision-Making. Judge Gorsuch signed onto an opinion holding that a transgender woman in prison whose hormone therapy was interrupted did not suffer irreparable harm. (20) And yet that conclusion flies in the face of the internationally-recognized Standards of Care of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health. (21) We would urge the Committee to ask Judge Gorsuch to clarify whether and when he thinks that medical or social science standards are relevant to legal decision-making.  For example:

  • Would Judge Gorsuch credit the three decades of social science scholarship confirming the parenting skills of LGBT people, or would he disregard these facts?
  • What about current public health understanding of how HIV is transmitted? Would Judge Gorsuch require some basis in fact for state laws concerning HIV transmission, or would he allow states to legislate based on fear and ignorance?

The Committee should insist that Judge Gorsuch explain his judicial philosophy in general on this question and how he would approach these and similar cases.

Employer Defenses to Claims of Discrimination. Numerous other groups have identified examples of Judge Gorsuch’s reluctance to enforce civil rights laws that protect workers. (22) One example in particular raises unique concerns for our community. In Kastl v. Maricopa County Community College District, (23) Judge Gorsuch signed onto an opinion rejecting a transgender woman’s claim of discrimination. In that case, the school denied her access to the women’s restroom, and claimed that it had a non-discriminatory reason for doing so unrelated to her “sex”—“safety concerns” due to the discomfort-based complaints of other students.

The notion that the discomfort of co-workers or customers is sufficient to defeat a claim of discrimination is not only incorrect, it is wholly inconsistent with decades of jurisprudence. (24) The suggestion that vague concerns about “safety,” privacy” or “discomfort” could be enough to satisfy an employer’s burden of proof in a discrimination case not only suggests a hostility to victims of discrimination generally, but also undermines any confidence that one might have that an LGBT person could receive a fair hearing before Judge Gorsuch.  The Committee should insist that Judge Gorsuch answer these and other important questions about his approach to labor and employment law.

The American people have a right to know how the appointment of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court would impact the rights of LGBT Americans, people living with HIV, and other at-risk communities who are entitled to rely upon the Constitution’s guarantees of equality, liberty, dignity and justice under the law. We urge the Committee to demand complete answers from Judge Gorsuch to the important questions that we and others have raised. Only by insisting that Judge Gorsuch answer these questions will the Committee fulfill its responsibility to the American people, and reveal the extent to which his nomination jeopardizes rights and liberties that many Americans believe are secure.

Thank you for considering our views on this important issue.

Very truly yours,

Lambda Legal

CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers

Equality California

Equality Federation

Family Equality Council

GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD)

GLSEN

Human Rights Campaign

National Black Justice Coalition

The National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Center for Transgender Equality

National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance

OutServe-SLDN

PFLAG National Pride at Work

Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)

Transgender Law Center

Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund

The Trevor Project

Victory Institute

cc: United States Senate Judiciary Committee Members

1 See Neil M. Gorsuch, Of Lions and Bears, Judges and Legislators, and the Legacy of Justice Scalia, 66 CASE W. RES. L. REV. 905 (2015).

2 See Erwin Chemerinsky, What Could Gorsuch Mean for the Supreme Court?: A backward jurist, POLITICO (Feb. 1, 2017), available at http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/02/neil-gorsuch-supreme-court-future-214724 (“Under originalism, no longer would there be constitutional protection for privacy, including reproductive freedom, or a right to marriage equality for gays and lesbians, and or even protection of women from discrimination under equal protection. None of these rights were intended by the framers.”).

3 NEIL M. GORSUCH, THE FUTURE OF ASSISTED SUICIDE AND EUTHANASIA (2009).

4 Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003); United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013); Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015).

5 See, e.g., J.E.B. v. Alabama, 511 U.S. 127 (1994) (Scalia, J., dissenting, joined by Justice Thomas and Chief Justice Rehnquist) (arguing that state’s use of peremptory strikes on the basis of gender in jury selection did not violate Equal Protection Clause); United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996) (Scalia, J., dissenting).

6 See Of Lions and Bears, supra note 1.

7 See, e.g., Miss. Univ. for Women v. Hogan, 458 U.S. 718, 724 (1982) (citing Kirchberg v. Feenstra, 450 U.S. 455, 461 (1981); Pers. Adm’r of Mass. v. Feeney, 442 U.S. 256, 273 (1979)); see also United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996) (referring to the Court’s “skeptical scrutiny” and the “demanding” burden of justification on the State).

8 See Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996).

9 See Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015).

10 See United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013).

11 Neil Gorsuch, Liberals’N’Lawsuits, NAT’L REVIEW ONLINE (Feb. 7, 2005), available at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/213590/liberalsnlawsuits-joseph-6.

12 Id.

13 Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, 523 U.S. 75, 79 (1998).

14  Id. at 79-80.

15 See, e.g., Letter from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to Charles Grassley & Dianne Feinstein (Feb. 15, 2017) (“Leadership Conference letter”); Letter from the Nat’l Educ. Ass’n to U.S. Senate Comm. on the Judiciary (Mar. 9, 2017); Letter from the Nat’l Council of Jewish Women to Mitch McConnell, Charles Schumer, Charles Grassley & Dianne Feinstein (Mar. 9, 2017); Letter from the People for the Am. Way to Mitch McConnell, Charles Schumer, Charles Grassley & Dianne Feinstein (Mar. 9, 2017); and Letter from the Bazelon Ctr. for Mental Health Law to Charles Grassley & Dianne Feinstein (undated).

16 Maria Buxton, Hannah Kieschnick & Robyn D. Levin, Judge Gorsuch and Civil Rights: A Restrictive Reading, 69 STAN. L. REV. ONLINE 155 (2017), available at https://review.law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/03/69-Stan.-L.-Rev.-Online-155.pdf.

17  494 U.S. 872 (1990).

18 Hobby Lobby Stores v. Sebelius, 723 F.3d 1114, 1152-56 (10th Cir. 2013) (Gorsuch, Kelly, Tymovich, J.J., concurring).

19 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2751 (2014).

20  Druley v. Patton, 601 F. App’x 632 (10th Cir. 2015).

21 WORLD PROF’L ASS’N FOR TRANSGENDER HEALTH, STANDARDS OF CARE FOR THE HEALTH OF TRANSSEXUAL,
TRANSGENDER, AND GENDER NONCONFORMING PEOPLE 68 (7th ed. 2012) (“The consequences of abrupt withdrawal of hormones or lack of initiation of hormone therapy when medically necessary include a high likelihood of negative outcomes such as surgical self-treatment by autocastration, depressed mood, dysphoria, and/or suicidality.”).

22  See, e.g., Leadership Conference letter, supra note 15.

23 325 F. App’x 492, 493 (9th Cir. 2009).

24 See, e.g., Palmore v. Sidoti, 466 U.S. 429 (1984) (“Private biases may be outside the reach of the law, but the law cannot, directly or indirectly, give them effect”).


The Trevor Project Signs Mental Health Liaison Group’s Medicaid Letter

The Honorable Mitch McConnell Senate Majority Leader
317 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Paul Ryan Speaker of the House
1233 Longworth House Building Office Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi House Minority Leader
233 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Charles Schumer Senate Minority Leader
322 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Speaker Ryan, Majority Leader McConnell, and Democratic Leaders Pelosi and Schumer:

The Mental Health Liaison Group (MHLG) wishes to express serious concern about recent proposals that would restructure the long-standing and fundamental federal-state financing partnership of the Medicaid program. Such efforts could adversely impact the 14 million vulnerable people living with mental or substance use disorders who depend heavily on Medicaid coverage.

The MHLG is a coalition of more than 60 national organizations representing consumers, family members, mental health and substance use treatment providers, advocates, payers, and other stakeholders committed to strengthening Americans’ access to mental health and substance use services and programs. We urge you to continue to protect vulnerable Americans’ access to vital mental health and substance use disorder care and programs by not reversing the progress we have made with the recent enactment of key mental health reforms in the 21st Century Cures Act and earlier reforms, such as the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPEA) of 2008.

The importance of Medicaid coverage for people living with mental or substance use disorders cannot be overstated. Medicaid is the single largest payer for behavioral health services in the United States, accounting for about 26 percent of behavioral health spending, and is the largest source of funding for the country’s public mental health system. One in five of Medicaid’s nearly 70 million beneficiaries have a mental or substance use disorder diagnosis.

Medicaid covers a broad range of behavioral health services at low or not cost, including but not limited to psychiatric hospital care, residential treatment for children, case management, day treatment, evaluation and testing, psychosocial rehabilitation (which includes supported employment, housing, and education), medication management, school-based services as well as individual, group and family therapy. In three dozen states, Medicaid covers essential peer support services to help sustain  recovery. Because people with behavioral health disorders experience a higher rate of chronic physical conditions than the general population, Medicaid’s coverage of primary care helps them receive treatment for both their behavioral health disorders and their physical conditions.

The state Medicaid expansion has proven to be crucial for low-income adults living with mental and substance use disorders. About 29 percent (3 million people) of low-income persons who receive health insurance coverage through the state Medicaid expansion program have a mental or substance use disorder. In states that have expanded Medicaid and which have been particularly hard hit by the opioid crisis, such as Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, Medicaid pays between 35 to 50 percent of medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders.

We now know that early access to mental health and substance use disorder services is essential to reducing the incidence and severity of these disorders. We also know that treating these disorders is a key factor in reducing the nation’s overall health care costs and the incidence of adverse encounters with the criminal justice system and homelessness, as well as in keeping people both in school and employed. Medicaid enables low-income people with mental or substance use disorders to receive care when they need it rather than waiting until there is a crisis, thus enabling them to lead healthier lives as fully participating members of our communities.

Recognizing Medicaid’s vital role in bringing mental health and substance use services to vulnerable populations, we are deeply concerned about recent proposals to block grant or cap the federal share of Medicaid. These models would dramatically restructure Medicaid’s joint federal-state financing partnership and the federal government’s guarantee of matching funds to states for qualifying Medicaid expenditures. Although details of current proposals have not yet been released, based on past proposals, we believe that converting Medicaid into a block grant or a per capita cap would shift significant costs to states up front, and over time. Experts have forecasted a 30 to 40 percent cut in the federal share of Medicaid over 10 years (Sperling, New York Times, December 25, 2016). Ultimately, states will be forced to reduce their Medicaid rolls, benefits, and already low payment rates to an already scarce workforce of behavioral health providers. Mental health and substance use disorder treatments and programs will be at high risk.

If states are forced to limit enrollment, eliminate covered benefits, and cut provider rates, we also believe that this will lead to substantial job losses in the behavioral health care industry. Such job losses could lead to additional unemployment, followed by additional reliance on public safety net programs, such as Medicaid.

The MHLG believes that the integrity of the Medicaid program must be preserved and that much can be achieved through more targeted reforms, such as the types of reforms we supported in the recently enacted 21st Century Cures Act. These included, for example, mental health prevention in the very young, early intervention, and care coordination and integration. We stand ready to work with you to promote these types of targeted reforms throughout the Medicaid program.

Sincerely,

American Art Therapy Association
American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry
American Association on Health and Disability
American Counseling Association
American Dance Therapy Association
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
American Group Psychotherapy Association
American Nurses Association
American Occupational Therapy Association
American Psychiatric Association
American Psychological Association
American Society of Addiction Medicine
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare
Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)
Clinical Social Work Association
Clinical Social Work Guild 49 OPEIU-AFL-CIO
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Eating Disorders Coalition
EMDR International Association
Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice
International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium
The Jewish Federations of North America
Legal Action Center
Mental Health America
NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Association for Children’s Behavioral Health
National Association for Rural Mental Health
National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors
National Association of School Psychologists
National Association of Social Workers
National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors
National Health Care for the Homeless Council
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
National Register of Health Service Psychologists
Sandy Hook Promise
School Social Work Association of America
The Trevor Project
Treatment Communities of America


The Trevor Project Responds to Gavin Grimm’s Supreme Court Case

The Trevor Project is disappointed to learn of the Supreme Court’s decision to send transgender student Gavin Grimm’s case back to the lower appeals court.  We, like many others, hoped this Title IX question would be settled once and for all and that no other transgender youth would have to engage in psychologically taxing litigation and scrutiny.  We remain optimistic that the appeals court will again uphold their initial ruling that Title IX protects transgender students.

Steve Mendelsohn, the Interim Executive Director of The Trevor Project said, “Not being allowed to use the restroom or locker room consistent with one’s gender identity can cause significant psychological and social distress. In fact, research has shown a high correlation between transgender young people being denied the right to use the appropriate bathroom and suicidality.  We are hopeful that the lower court will support their earlier decision which will contribute to the well-being of trans youth and reduce the likelihood of poor mental health outcomes in these populations.”

We #StandWithGavin.


The Trevor Project Joins 127 organizations Urging Passage of the End Racial and Religious Profiling

The Trevor Project joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the 126 undersigned organizations, urging legislators to cosponsor S. 411, the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act of 2017 (ERRPA). Passage of this bill is needed to put an end to racial and religious profiling by law enforcement officials and to ensure that individuals are not prejudicially stopped, investigated, arrested, or detained based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Policies primarily designed to impact certain groups are ineffective and often result in the destruction of civil liberties for everyone.

View this letter online here.


Trump Administration Title IX Guidance Withdrawal is a Danger to the Mental Health of Trans Youth

February 22, 2017

Today, the Trump Administration rescinded Title IX guidance put forward in May of 2016 by the Obama Administration’s Departments of Education and Justice.  This guidance outlined what public schools’ responsibilities are to transgender students under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and how those departments would evaluate a school’s compliance. Notably, the guidance mandated that public schools allow young people to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity. Today’s letter to public schools withdraws this vital trans-supportive federal guidance.

Protective and common sense equality measures are an indicator of societal and environmental change toward acceptance and validation of LGBTQ individuals and communities. It is this acceptance (combating discrimination and its consequences) that we know is likely to increase the positive mental health of affected communities and reduce the risk of negative outcomes, such as suicide attempts. This was brought to light by the recent Johns Hopkins University study of marriage equality and a reduction in suicide attempts amongst the LGB community.

We understand that transgender students will still be afforded legal protections under federal law that school districts must comply with, and many schools are and will continue to protect transgender students under the prior guidance. However, we are very concerned that the move today by this administration proves a dangerous disregard for the well-being of transgender youth.

Policy, advocacy, education, and intervention (access to trained help) all go hand-in-hand to play a role in reducing risk.  Acute crisis events are often associated with suicidal behavior. Actions that are perceived as unsupportive of the LGBTQ community could initiate an acute crisis for LGBTQ youth, and lead to increased suicidality within this population.

The Trevor Project is the leading and only nationally accredited (by the American Association of Suicidology) organization focused on crisis intervention and suicide prevention efforts for LGBTQ youth.  “By specifically targeting protections for youth who identify as transgender, the Trump administration has made a direct attack on the positive mental health of our community,” said Trevor Project interim Executive Director Steve Mendelsohn.  “On the day after the 2016 presidential election, The Trevor Project saw the single highest number of crisis contacts in a single day in its nearly 20-year history.  Our young people were frightened of the possible increase in discrimination, violence, and hate they might face under this new administration.  Unfortunately, today’s actions show that they weren’t wrong to feel that way.”

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality’s (NCTE) recent U.S. Transgender Survey, 82 percent of transgender people seriously considered completing suicide at some point in their lives. Among respondents who had attempted suicide, more than a third (34 percent) made their first attempt at age 13 or younger; three-quarters did so before age 18.  Nearly nine in ten transgender students are verbally harassed at school due to their gender identity and more than half have been physically assaulted, according to a 2009 GLSEN survey.

The Trevor Project stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the National Center for Transgender Equality, GLSEN, our other colleague organizations, and millions of kind and fair-minded individuals as a buffer between dangerous actions like this and our transgender young people.

President Trump and his administration are encouraged to utilize the educational resources available on the Trevor Project website to gain a better understanding of our community and learn how discriminatory legislation, rhetoric, and cabinet appointees can detrimentally affect the mental health of our youth.

Any LGBTQ young person who is feeling hopeless, sad, or suicidal is encouraged to call the highly-trained crisis counselors on our TrevorLifeline anytime at 1-866-488-7386 or reach out to us at TrevorText or TrevorChat via our website at www.TheTrevorProject.org.  You are not alone.  Reach out today.

ABOUT THE TREVOR PROJECT:
The Trevor Project is the leading and only nationally accredited organization focused on crisis intervention and suicide prevention efforts for LGBTQ youth. Every day, The Trevor Project saves young lives through its free and confidential crisis intervention lifeline, text, and chat services.  We work to help alleviate the causes of the need of crisis services via our educational materials, online resources, research, and advocacy programs. We also offer a peer-to-peer support network for LGBTQ youth under the age of 25 via our TrevorSpace site. For more information, visit www.TheTrevorProject.org.

Support the work of the Trevor Project by making a tax-deductible donation today.

CONTACT: Trevor Project Vice President of Marketing Sheri A. Lunn: 310.271.8845 x402
Trevor Project interim Executive Director Steve Mendelsohn is available for interviews in New York City.
Trevor Project Director of Advocacy Amy Loudermilk, MSW is available for interviews in Washington DC.


The Trevor Project Joins 300+ Civil & Human Rights Organizations in Opposing Confirmation of Gorsuch

Today, the Trevor Project joined more than 300 national organizations committed to promoting and protecting the civil and human rights of all persons in sending a letter in opposition of the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).  Sent by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein outlining concerns that Judge Gorsuch would tip the balance of the Court in a direction that would undermine many of our core rights and legal protections.  Specifically surrounding LGBTQ issues: “in his 2005 National Review article Judge Gorsuch expressed disdain for those seeking to use the courts to enforce their rights under the law, and he specifically criticized LGBT Americans who have relied on federal courts in their quest for equality. The rationale he employed in the Hobby Lobby case – a license to discriminate for private corporations – has also been used by several states to justify discrimination against LGBT Americans. And his skepticism about LGBT claims is also demonstrated in a 2015 case, Druley v. Patton, where he voted to reject a claim by a transgender woman incarcerated in Oklahoma who alleged that her constitutional rights were violated when she was denied medically necessary hormone treatment and the right to wear feminine clothing. Other federal courts have reached the opposite conclusion in such cases.”

The full letter with footnotes sent to Mr. Grassley and Ms. Feinstein can be found here. http://www.civilrights.org/advocacy/letters/2017/oppose-gorsuch.html


Trevor Project joins 251 Civil Rights Orgs in Opposing DeVos as Ed Sec

January 30, 2017

Oppose Confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education

Dear Senator,

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the 251 organizations listed below, we urge you to oppose the confirmation of Betsy DeVos to be the next U.S. Secretary of Education. All parents and students in this country – a majority of whom are of color or are low-incomei – want the best education, support and dignity for their own children. We stand with them and cannot support a nominee who has demonstrated that she seeks to undermine bedrock American principles of equal opportunity, nondiscrimination and public education itself.

The Secretary of Education’s role as an enforcer of education and civil rights lawsii is central to advancing our shared vision of an inclusive and diverse system of high-quality public education that enables every student to live up to their potential. DeVos has demonstrated no previous commitment to ensuring equal educational opportunity in schools. Moreover, in her hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on January 17, 2017, she failed to demonstrate that she is capable of and committed to enforcing the law – as is required of the agency’s chief executive.

Betsy DeVos’ deference to state flexibility, even with regard to compliance with federal civil rights laws such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); her claim that demonstrating support for Title IX enforcement guidance would be “premature;” and her lack of support for accountability for all schools receiving federal funds only serve to reinforce our conclusion that her inadequate previous experience and missing record of support for students’ civil rights make her unfit to serve as Secretary of Education.

When compared with Secretaries of Education throughout the history of the department, DeVos’ lack of experience stands out. She has never been an educator or worked directly with children and families in public schools. She has never led a school, district or state agency tasked with educating students. She has never been a public school parent or a public school student. This lack of experience makes her uniquely unfamiliar with the challenges and opportunities facing the nation’s students, families, educators and schools.

The U.S. Department of Education is responsible for implementing and enforcing laws protecting students from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex and disability and those laws that provide for educational opportunity from early childhood through graduate school. The person responsible for leading that department must absolutely be committed to enforcing federal laws on behalf of every single student in this country – without regard to LGBTQI status, family income, race, ethnicity, home language, gender, religion, disability or immigration status. Our nation’s Constitution, economy, future and children deserve no less.

Sincerely,

The Trevor Project

For the full letter and 250 other organizations, visit: http://www.civilrights.org/advocacy/letters/2017/oppose-confirmation-of-betsy.html