Trans Lifeline provides suicide prevention by and for the trans community

Yesterday, we marked the sixteenth annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, focusing on the transgender and gender-nonconforming people taken by violence in the past year. On November 1st, an integral resource was launched to help trans people in crisis—the Trans Lifeline, a free crisis and suicide prevention hotline that is managed and staffed by volunteers who are themselves members of the trans community.

The first of its kind, the San Francisco-based Trans Lifeline is a non-profit dedicated to the wellbeing of transgender people. The line is primarily for individuals in crisis, which may include those struggling with gender identity, and individuals who may be engaged in self-harm. It is especially important that members of the community have individuals to reach out to who are 'true experts' on transgender experience, and in addition to being trans identified, all volunteers are educated in the range of difficulties transgender people experience.

President Greta Gustava Martela states, "According to the most recent and comprehensive statistics available, 41% of trans people attempt suicide at least once in their lives, and the figures go up to 50% if their trans status is known or disclosed. We'd like to get that number to zero. Our community needs every one of our members."

Professor H. Adam Ackley published a Huffington Post piece for Transgender Day of Remberence, in which he discusses the importance of Trans Lifeline and cites similar statistics to Gustava Martela. He elaborates that transgender suicide attempts are about nine times the national average, and that harassment, family rejection, unstable housing and employment, and discrimination in work and health care lead to high rates of suicide attempts among trans people. One in three transgender people worldwide are reported to die from suicide attempts, a striking number when considering that many trans individuals and cases are misgendered or unreported.

The hotline is available for individuals across the continental United States and in Canada, and is staffed by volunteers from outside the Bay Area. In order to increase efficacy, Martela is looking to add dedicated volunteers to the team quickly. If you are trans identified and interested in volunteering, learn more here. For help and support, the hotline number is 877-565-8860