The number of calls, texts and online chats made by transgender youth has more than doubled in the wake of President Trump's tweet about banning transgender service members and the announcement of the Texas "bathroom bill," according to a report recently released by The Trevor Project, a national organization that offers crisis intervention for LGBTQ youth.
"Of the approximate 178 contacts per day (on average) received by The Trevor Project, 7.3 percent typically self-identify as transgender," the statement reads. "However, within 24 hours after President Trump's tweet regarding transgender military service members, contacts from transgender individuals spiked to 17.5 percent of all contacts. Furthermore, in the week after the Texas legislature introduced the anti-trans 'bathroom bill,' contacts from transgender young people doubled to 14.7 percent."
Amit Paley, the CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project, said the increase points to a very real need for public figures to acknowledge and do something about the harmful impact policies like the "bathroom bill" or tweets like Trump's can have on vulnerable youth.
"This data makes clear that our elected officials can no longer ignore that their anti-transgender rhetoric is putting lives at risk," Paley said in a statement. "Anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and legislation directly leads to crisis among our community's young people. While the Trevor Project will continue to be there for them around the clock, our elected officials must stop throwing young people into crisis for political gain. Discrimination is un-American, and we will hold to account those legislators who attack the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community."
Transgender individuals have been the target of an alarming 16 homicides this year alone, with a transgender woman identified as Tee Tee Dangerfield most recently shot and killed in her car in College Park, Georgia, on Monday.
In late July, Trump tweeted a series of messages saying that the military would not allow transgender individuals to serve "in any capacity," throwing the nation into a fit of confusion over the implications of the tweets, which cited financial reasons as the primary reason for the ban.
Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, later issued a letter reassuring his constituents that things would carry on per usual despite Trump's tweet.
"There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President's direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance," he wrote, adding that the military would continue to "treat all of our personnel with respect."