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Today, the Trump Administration rescinded Title IX guidance put forward in May of 2016 by the Obama Administration’s Departments of Education and Justice.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 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.