In the week following the infamous memo leak detailing the Trump administration’s plan to remove all protections for trans people under Title IX, suicide hotline calls have surged.
Trans Lifeline, the only suicide hotline for trans people operated by trans people, received four times the average number of calls in the days following the memo leak and twice the regular number of first-time callers.
"At Trans Lifeline we are able to see in real time that policy debates don’t take place in a vacuum — they have direct and immediate impacts on real lives," Trans Lifeline executive director Sam Ames told Teen Vogue. "Since the [Health and Human Services] memo was leaked, the number of calls to our crisis hotline has more than quadrupled, doubling the number of new callers who have never needed to access our services before. This is bad news, but it isn’t new news."
There have also been a surge of calls in Massachusetts, where residents are soon to vote on a referendum on transgender rights, which would repeal protections for transgender and nonbinary people in public accommodations.
"Playing politics with civil rights of a vulnerable population has consequences. But moments like this are exactly why Trans Lifeline exists," Ames explained. "Our hotline intervenes at the moment of crisis, and our Microgrants program helps pay for the documents that allow trans people to safely access public spaces."
Ames also encouraged cisgender folks to take more action and to check up on their transgender and gender nonbinary friends and family.
"To our cisgender friends — we need you to make sure those who may be hurting today know they’re not alone, speak up with your cisgender friends about the issues affecting our lives, and donate to the trans-led organizations working around the clock right now to support our community," Ames concluded. "To our trans, gender-nonconforming, and intersex family — this is one battle in a much longer war, and we won’t let you fight it alone. We’re here for you, and we’re not going anywhere."