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.
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Today, the Trump Administration rescinded Title IX guidance put forward in May of 2016 by the Obama Administration’s Departments of Education and Justice.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.
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
January 30, 2017
Oppose Confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education
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.
The Trevor Project
For the full letter and 250 other organizations, visit: http://www.civilrights.org/advocacy/letters/2017/oppose-confirmation-of-betsy.html
January 30, 2017 For Immediate Release
It’s time we talk about the serious danger posed to the mental health of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community if Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) is confirmed as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Price’s beliefs and actions are being appropriately scrutinized by the media and through congressional hearings, but little attention has been paid to the impact his confirmation will have on the mental health of the general population, let alone of vulnerable populations like LGBTQ youth. Price’s record as a seven term congressman provides a wealth of insight into his personal views and policy positions. Unfortunately, it’s a record of discrimination and hate which can have very real impacts on a young person’s mental health.
LGBTQ youth face significant challenges today, whether they’re struggling with coming out, facing family rejection, or dealing with bullying. If Tom Price becomes head of HHS and is allowed to put his beliefs into practice, dire consequences will follow. Price is a supporter of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which, despite its lofty sounding name, actually allows businesses and individuals to discriminate against sexual orientation and gender identity minorities. It’s no secret that he is also a vitriolic critic of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But repealing the ACA, which contains nondiscrimination protections, could decimate the LGBTQ community’s access to psychological services that play a critical role in achieving and maintaining positive mental health.
Picture a bisexual young person going to counseling for an issue unrelated to her sexual orientation only to be told that the counselor doesn’t treat LGBTQ people. Picture a transgender female teenager that needs to be admitted to a psychiatric facility for a suicide attempt but the facility says they will only allow her to be admitted to the male program.
In reviewing past legislation Price proposed as an alternative to the ACA, many concerns were revealed. Under Price’s ACA replacement plan, young adults who were previously covered under their parent’s health insurance may lose access to covered healthcare and part-time workers would lose the ability to purchase affordable healthcare for themselves. Perhaps worst of all, however, is that bans on “pre-existing conditions” could become legal again, except in limited circumstances, and youth with illnesses like depression or anxiety would not be able to get insurance coverage for those conditions. People who are HIV-positive might not have access to covered care and life-saving prescription medications, which can not only have a devastatingly negative impact on their physical health, but their mental health as well.
As if that isn’t enough to send mental health spiraling downward, Price’s record on LGBTQ issues indicates that conditions will rapidly deteriorate under his direction. He voted against the Violence Against Women Act because it contained nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. He voted against ending employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. He’s also publicly balked at the idea that schools should be required to allow students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. These are the ideals that will pervade HHS under his leadership.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the HHS agency that administers grants to states and educational institutions to provide mental health services to youth. Under the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, SAMHSA gives colleges money to provide services to prevent suicide. Many grantees use that money to provide LGBTQ specific suicide prevention programming because of the community’s disproportionate risk of suicide. Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth attempt suicide at more than four times the rate of their heterosexual peers, while 40% of transgender individuals report having attempted suicide at some point in their lifetime. With Price as HHS director, it’s not hard to imagine that specialized services for LGBTQ youth experiencing suicidal ideation could be taken away.
Finally, Price also voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which added sexual orientation and gender identity to our federal hate crimes statute. This “no” vote flies in the face of facts which reveal that LGBTQ people are more likely than any other group to be the victims of hate crimes. Add that to the knowledge that every act of victimization increases an LGBTQ youth’s risk of suicide and the insight into the threat to their mental health under Price becomes too painful to contemplate.
The Trevor Project is the nation’s leading crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization focused on LGBTQ youth. Immediately after the election, the organization experienced the highest call volume it’s ever received in a single day in the history of the organization. LGBTQ youth were overwhelmed and frightened of the possible increase in discrimination, violence, and hate they might face under this new administration. Those issues alone are difficult enough to navigate without adding the risks that Price’s confirmation will have on their mental health. This cost to a young person’s mental health is simply a price we cannot afford. Contact your senators today and tell them to oppose Price’s nomination as secretary of HHS.
The Trevor Project Vice President of Programs, David W. Bond, LCSW, B.C.E.T.S., is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress.
Contact: The Trevor Project Marketing & Communications Department: 310.271.8845 x402
ABOUT THE TREVOR PROJECT:
The Trevor Project is the only national organization focused on crisis intervention and suicide prevention efforts among 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.
Hi, I’m Raymond Braun and I wanted to share a message with any LGBTQ+ youth who are feeling upset today. Today is a challenging and difficult day for so many of us. You may be confronting a mixture of emotions and feelings you’re not quite sure how to process. That’s normal.
First, please take care of yourself, today and every day. Learn what “self care” means to you. Identity activities and people who make you happy, and try to spend as much time as possible doing things that bring you fulfillment and joy. Remember that it’s OK to turn off the TV, log off social media, and disengage from the news when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
As we enter a new era in politics, I want to make sure you know that you belong, your identity is valid, and your feelings, thoughts, and ideas are worthwhile. You might see scary headlines about anti-LGBTQ politicians or policy proposals, you might encounter nasty comments on social media, and you might experience bullying and discrimination that you certainly don’t deserve. Please don’t let these awful things diminish your shine and spirit. As MLK said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” In the wake of the election, there’s been such an outpouring of love, support, passion, and action from our community. There is so much good out there, and we will continue advocating for your right to be exactly who you are. You deserve that, and so much more, and we have your back.
You are part of one of the most diverse, creative, compassionate, resilient communities in the world. Think about the history of the LGBTQ community. We have overcome many obstacles and setbacks throughout history, and we’ve always emerged stronger and more unified than ever before.
I might not know you personally, but I am rooting for you. Our community needs you to nurture your talent, develop your skills, and identify your passions. Please find the hope inside yourself to continue growing into the amazing human being that you are. As you’re encountering all of life’s challenges, know that you’re not alone, and that there are resources for you and people who care deeply about you. Of course, the Trevor Project is available to talk 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, and you can reach out through their digital services like TrevorChat and TrevorSpace as well. Reach out if you’re ever feeling distressed or need a listening ear – whether it’s a phone call or text to Trevor, a coffee chat with a trusted loved one, or a visit to one of your local community resource centers.
You are valuable, powerful, and deserving of every opportunity in the world. I’m sending you a big hug, and when I march in the #WomensMarch tomorrow, I’m doing it for you.
Today, the North Carolina legislature called a special session where, according to Governor McCrory, they would “reconsider existing state legislation” in reference to House Bill 2 which is frequently referred to as the “bathroom bill.” In reality the bill does so much more than restrict bathroom access, it also limits LGBTQ rights by not allowing for local anti-discrimination ordinances. The session was called in response to a Monday night vote by the Charlotte City council to rescind their local law (a non-discrimination ordinance) that originally led to the statewide HB2, according to the Charlotte Observer. Rescinding the local ordinance was meant to allow for full repeal of HB2. The North Carolina legislature today debated a repeal that would have also added a six-month moratorium on any local anti-discrimination ordinances. They failed to repeal HB2, thereby failing their LGBTQ constituents.
Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project said, “We are outraged that the North Carolina legislature is continuing its practice of discrimination against transgender and gender nonconforming people and they leave the entire LGBTQ community open to discrimination. The actions in North Carolina show how important our work at The Trevor Project is and we remain committed to fighting for the future of LGBTQ youth.” Anyone in need of crisis intervention services is encouraged to call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. The lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.
According to our colleagues at Lambda Legal and the ACLU, “H.B. 2 bans transgender people from accessing restrooms and public facilities consistent with their gender identity and prevents local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people. H.B. 2 is estimated to have cost North Carolina over $600 million in lost revenue from businesses concerned with the discriminatory nature of the law, and was a contributing factor in the election defeat of the outgoing Governor Pat McCrory.”
As we approach the 2016 holidays, and we get ready for the new year and a change in our political landscape, I want to let you know that I too am getting ready for a big change. After nearly 5 years as the Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project, I will be leaving this amazing organization at the end of the year.
And, as difficult as it is for me to move on, I am proud of the many accomplishments at The Trevor Project in the years that I have been here. For example:
- We have expanded the budget over 100% and significantly expanded the staff and volunteer pool
- We launched the organization’s first research and evaluation project, which has quantitatively proven that Trevor is effective at saving young lives
- We added an Advisory Board of experts to help inform the our programs
- We added Trevor’s digital programs, Chat and Text, to meet youth where they are
- We built a new platform for TrevorSpace to help prevent suicide among youth around the world
- We expanded Trevor’s public policy work and successfully sponsored legislation in CA and Washington, DC
- We helped make Trevor the go-to place for anyone discussing LGBTQ youth and suicide
Being part of the Trevor family has been one of the most important parts of my life. I am constantly in awe of the amazing, dedicated staff, volunteers and supporters who keep the organization strong every single day.
This year has been extraordinary, there have been some real highs, and some awful lows, that will impact us for a long time. But through it all, Trevor has been there saving young LGBTQ lives. And Trevor will continue to be there – thanks to all of you.
But most importantly, I know first-hand that the organization will continue to thrive. And that’s because of its current leadership which includes a strong board of directors, led by co-chairs Stacy Smithers and Michael Norton, Steve Mendelsohn, our deputy executive director who will become the Interim Executive Director, and the incredibly talented leadership team of Jeremy Ancalade, David Bond, Jack McCurley and our newest addition, Sheri Lunn.
Though I will no longer be running the organization day in and day out, this is not really a good-bye. That’s because I intend to remain part of the Trevor family – as a volunteer, as a supporter, and as a friend. No matter what, I will always be here for Trevor and for all of you!
Executive Director and CEO
The Trevor Project
We congratulate our friends at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) who today released the largest survey of transgender people ever conducted. Their findings reveal significant disparities between transgender people and the rest of the U.S. population across a range of categories. The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS) examined the experiences of transgender people across the United States, with 27,715 respondents from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and U.S. military bases overseas. The USTS serves as a follow-up to the groundbreaking 2008-2009 National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), which has been integral in shifting how the public and policymakers view transgender people and the challenges they face.
Among the starkest findings is that 40% of respondents have attempted suicide in their lifetime—nearly nine times the attempted suicide rate in the U.S. population (4.6%). As David Crary reports in the Washington Post, “There have been some important gains for transgender rights in the years between the two surveys, but the new survey showed little or no improvement in terms of transgender people’s day-to-day experiences with bias,” and that the survey “paints a grim picture of pervasive discrimination and harassment” against the transgender community. The full survey report is available at www.ustranssurvey.org.
While we still have a long way to go, the improved visibility and acceptance highlighted by the report may be an indicator that we are moving in the right direction in some aspects. 60% of respondents reported that their family was accepting of them as a transgender individual and 68% of those out to their coworkers report acceptance in the workplace.
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. We encourage transgender youth to reach out to us via the Trevor Lifeline 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386.
The Trevor Project celebrates Transgender Awareness Month for the entirety of November. November 20th marked Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day in which we remembered those who have lost their lives. To honor the resilience of our community, we released two special PSAs from Trace Lysette of Transparent.
Remember that no matter what your gender identity, The Trevor Project is here to support you. If you are curious about your own gender identity, or want to understand how to better support transgender and gender non-conforming folks in your community, take a look in our Support Center for information on gender identity.
If you or someone you know needs help, know that we are here for you 24/7, every day of the year, at 1-866-488-7386, with more digital services available as well. We are here to champion and support all LGBTQ youth, no matter what your identity. Know that you are valid, and you matter.