The election of Donald Trump and Mike Pence took many by surprise, especially young people. After a divisive campaign marked by threats of stripping LGBTQ rights, and arguably the most anti-LGBT political party platform in U.S. history, the Republicans took control of our congress and executive branch of government leading many to fear the worst. The potential impact among LGBTQ youth is particularly disturbing. After eight years of progressive policies that championed diversity and were supportive of LGBTQ people, many are highly concerned about their futures.
At The Trevor Project, the nation’s only accredited suicide prevention program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth under 25, we hear from youth every day about the struggles they are facing. Contacts to The Trevor Project’s crisis services programs (by phone, chat and text) reached unprecedented levels in the days following the election. Volume surged 116% in two days after election, and the organization heard from person after person about their fears and anxieties. Among the topics raised by LGBTQ youth are worries that their rights will be taken away, that they might be forced into conversion therapy, that they could lose their healthcare, and more. Several youth reported concerns about their safety and new reluctance about coming out. Anxieties like these have been shown to contribute towards increased thoughts about suicide.
“The Trevor Project was prepared for an increase in crisis contacts following the election, but the amount we received was unprecedented. The level of anxiety young people are expressing since the election is at an all-time high,” said Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO. “But knowing that we are here 24/7, to listen to and save the lives of LGBTQ youth, many of whom have no other place to turn, reminds us of the importance and necessity of The Trevor Project.
The Trevor Project is determined to work diligently to lead the new Administration and Congress towards policies and laws that are supportive of LGBTQ people and their mental health. We will be at the table with our LGBTQ peer organizations and our partners fighting violence, deportations, police profiling, and other intersecting issues, providing guidance and support to lawmakers and agencies so that the youth of our great nation will be safe and will continue to thrive. We want a bright future for the youth of America, and we will do our part to make that a reality.