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Trans Lifeline is a new suicide prevention hotline whose focus is specifically transgender people and those experiencing a gender crisis. Their number is (877)565-8860.
Founded by Greta Martela, Trans Lifeline is unique in several respects when compared with other similar helplines. First and foremost, the staff is comprised of transgender people. Additionally, the website for Trans Lifeline allows would-be callers to see what staff members are on to respond to them.
The importance of this kind of service can not be understated. Transgender people belong to one of the most at-risk groups as far as suicide (and violence at the hands of others). They are also very much a cultural “other,” meaning that the average suicide hotline volunteer probably doesn’t know was trans- and cis-gender mean, let alone understand the pressure (both social and internal) of struggling with gender identity issues.
People feeling outside of society or misunderstood are more likely to feel lost and as though their existence is valuless. By connecting transgender people in crisis with those who can actually understand what they are going through, Trans Lifeline may in time prove to be an invaluable asset for those struggling with gender identity and mental health issues.
Trans Lifelife is not the first suicide hotline with a transgender focus. Transgender Michigan, whose number is 855-345-TGMI. Transgender Michigan was founded in 1997 by Susan Crocker, EA, and Rachel Crandall, MSW with the goal of helping trans people in Michigan, but they have
For younger folks in crisis, there is The Trevor Project, which has been operating their hotline since 1998. Their website includes other resources as well as a chat option if a call is not the best mode of communication. They focus on LGBTQIA youth ages 13-24, though community feedback indicates they are not necessarily well-trained or the most helpful for transgender youth or those struggling with gender identity.
Those who create and staff these hotlines do an invaluable service to those in crisis. May the Trans Lifeline be successful in helping those in crisis re-evaluate their current position and hopelessness, and may it inspire others to step up and help at-risk people.
For previous Ladybud Magazine articles that deal with mental health issues, click here.
Photo Credit: Miskatonic under (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons