The holiday season brings with it a terrible price for some of us. You can't miss any of the clues that tell us all this is a time of family.
I remember when I was transitioning in the MidSouth trying to find someplace to go for dinner on a holiday and seeing the sign on the doors of the restaurants:
That's really not what one wants to see when one has been excommunicated from their family, has no place to go and is feeling lonely.
The holidays are an especially dangerous time for people who are in danger of being suicidal. The numbers are there for all to see: 41% of transgender people attempt to commit suicide at some point. Fortunately, fewer than that are successful in those attempts. But the attempt rate is is nearly ten times that of cisgender people.
So it still is time of danger.
There are many suicide hotlines out there a person can contact. But not all of them have people who are clued into the special hell that being lonely and transgender can be.
Not to worry.
This line is primarily for transgender people experiencing a crisis. This includes people who may be struggling with their gender identity and are not sure that they are transgender. While our goal is to prevent self harm, we welcome the call of any transgender person in need. We will do our very best to connect them with services that can help them meet that need. If you are not sure whether you should call or not, then please call.
San Francisco software developer Greta Martela has assembled a staff of trans-identified volunteers to help.
When the 44-year-old mother came out last year as a trans woman, she was faced with increasing anxiety and panic attacks that ultimately led to her calling a suicide hotline, she tells Time.
But, she says, the man on the other end of the line "had no idea how to deal with a trans woman." He went silent and simply told her to go to a hospital. Once Martela reached the hospital, she says she had to once again inform the staff about what it means to be trans.
There are a ton of suicide hotlines. There's no shortage of them.
But it's really difficult to get a person who isn't trans to understand what it's like to be trans.
There’s a body count associated with people not accepting trans people. It’s costing lives.
Right now, Trans Lifeline is awaiting its application for nonprofit status and operates with a small budget. Calls are forwarded by a computer program to volunteers own phones' wherever they are located. Callers can see which volunteers are available at any given time by logging onto Trans Lifeline's website.