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Leading up to the election, many people still doubted Donald Trump’s harsh stances on LGBTQ rights. After all, not long ago, he was pro-choice, and throughout his campaign has claimed to be LGBTQ-friendly despite choosing conversion-therapy enthusiast Mike Pence as a running mate and proposing anti-LGBTQ policies. But in October, Pence confirmed that a Trump presidency would rescind guidance protecting transgender people from discrimination, among other things. And the trans community is reeling from Trump’s election.
Yesterday, Guardian reporter Zach Stafford tweeted that at least eight trans people have died by suicide in the aftermath of Trump’s win.
Trans Lifeline appears to confirm that number in a statement and said it’s received over 350 calls since the election, including many suicidal calls. “Our trans-identified operators are working hard to offer support, guidance, and hope through this difficult time. We’ve answered a staggering 115 calls in 24 hours, demonstrating that we are here for each other.” The Trevor Project and Crisis Text Line also say they were contacted twice as much as normal in the day after the election.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, released a statement to the Daily Dot, saying, “Vice President-elect Pence has made clear during his tenure as the governor of Indiana that he is completely opposed to the liberty of LGBT people. Vice President-elect Pence has made clear that President-elect Trump will roll back recent LGBT equality gains. Yet at the same time, President-elect Trump recently posed on stage with a rainbow flag, and in his victory speech, he pledged to be ‘president for all Americans.’ It is now our job to make sure he lives up to that promise.”
Skyrocketing suicide attempt rates among trans people after harmful—or the threat of harmful—legislation is nothing new. Studies have linked discriminating laws and psychological harm. One article in the Washington Post calculated the impact so-called “bathroom bills” would have on transgender populations in various states. “Extrapolating from these numbers, we can predict that should these bills all pass, we can expect between 7,600 and 17,101 more youth suicide attempts in these six states. Among youth aged 15-24, between 1 in 100 and 1 in 200 who attempt suicide die as a result. If these bills pass, we can expect between 38 and 86 additional suicides.”
Then again, Trump could always change his mind. He’s certainly set precedent for it.
Jaya Saxena is a lifestyle writer and editor whose work focuses primarily on women's issues and web culture. Her writing has appeared in GQ, ELLE, the Toast, the New Yorker, Tthe Hairpin, BuzzFeed, Racked, Eater, Catapult, and others. She is the co-author of 'Dad Magazine,' the author of 'The Book Of Lost Recipes,' and the co-author of 'Basic Witches.'