A suicide hotline that bills itself as the only transgender crisis hotline in the US says that the number of calls it has received has doubled since the passage of HB 2.
Executive director Greta Martela of Trans Lifeline, a Chicago-based, California-registered non-profit staffed entirely by transpeople, also tells the INDY that according to records, the group has taken calls from 249 North Carolinians over the course of the organization’s history. Fifty-one of those calls from North Carolina have been in 2016 alone, with twenty-seven calls coming in since March 23, the day the law passed.
In 2014, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute found that forty-one percent of transgender people have attempted suicide. Trans Lifeline says that a leading researcher focusing on mental health of transpeople, Dr. Rylan Testa, “has proven that misgendering, rejection, discrimination, and violence are the leading factors that contribute to transgender suicide.”
Martela told the Daily Beast that on April 13th, they received an “unprecedented” number of 357 calls.
“It’s important to remember that just because it’s happening in North Carolina, doesn’t mean it only affects people in North Carolina,” Martela tells the INDY. “We’ve been watching states try to pass legislation like this for years…North Carolina has the dubious distinction of actually doing it.”
Martela says that her organization is increasing its outreach to the South. “Most people find us through social media, and because it’s not safe to be out in the South, we’re actually coming to the South so people can find out what we’re doing,” she says.
“Things aren’t great for transpeople in most part of the US,” she says. “One of our two political parties is dedicated to making sure we don’t make any progress. I think that after this election season we might see less of it, but I’m just concerned about what the body count will be for transpeople.”
The number for Trans Lifeline is 877-565-8860.