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National transgender hotline hopes to prevent suicide

TUCSON – According to the National Transgender Survey, 41 percent of transgender Americans reported they have attempted suicide.

The first transgender suicide hotline is now up and running in the U.S., it is called Trans Lifeline.

Trans Lifeline is the only service in the country where everyone answering is transgender.

There is also a hotline for LGBTQ youth that just went to 24/7.

News 4 Tucson spoke with people in the community who say these lifelines are making a huge difference.

“When I started to transition, I did receive a lot of rejection and kind of push back from my community, my family, but I knew that I was doing it for myself and that I had to do it, otherwise, I would not be the happy person that I am today,” said Russ Toomey, Family Studies and Human Development Associate Professor.

Toomey says overall he was accepted when he first came out and when he started the transition process, but he says this is not the case for most people.

“Be yourself, at the end of the day and that’s what matters is that you’re true to yourself and try to find support where you can,” said Toomey. “So whether that’s online if you’re in a place that’s really remote. Find support online. There are definitely some supportive places to meet other people who are trans. If you have access to in-person support, find that and go seek that. Find people that will lift you up.”

The Trevor Project is a resource specifically for LGBTQ and trans youth. The non-profit reported that suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 10 to 24.

“I’ve heard stories of people that have called general hotlines when they’ve had suicidal thoughts or when they were just feeling really depressed and they were maybe misgendered by those general suicide hotlines or told to go seek treatment for their gender identity, which we know is not the problem,” Toomey said. “The problem is society at large not respecting identities. So having a trans-specific hotline is just incredible because the people on the other end will be able to empathize and will be able to really understand where some of the young people that are calling are at in their life.”

The Trans Lifeline number is 877-565-8860.

The Trevor Project Hotline number is 1-866-488-7386.

Associated Press

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