TEXAS, USA — On Thursday, a bill that would require transgender student-athletes to play on sports teams based on the sex assigned at or near their birth passed in the Texas House.
The Texas Senate passed an amended version of the bill Friday, which sends it back to the House for approval before it could go to the governor's desk. The bill does also include an exception for girls who want to play a sport that doesn't have a girls' team. Similar legislation has passed in the Senate all four times lawmakers have met this year, but it has always died in the House.
Supporters of the bill say that it is an issue of fairness, while opponents say it causes more harm than good.
In September, the Los Angeles Blade – an LGBTQ news source based in southern California – reported that The Trevor Project had received nearly 4,000 crisis contacts from transgender and nonbinary youth in Texas this year, with many directly stating that they were feeling stressed and considering suicide due to laws being debated in the state.
In a statement to the Los Angeles Blade, the CEO and executive director of The Trevor Project called the situation a "crisis" and urged Texas lawmakers to "consider the weight of their words and actions."
According to the Los Angeles Blade report, between Jan. 1 and Aug. 30 of this year, The Trevor Project received more than 3,900 crisis contacts (calls, texts and chats) from transgender or nonbinary youth. Crisis contacts from LGBTQ youth in Texas have grown over 150% when compared to the same time period in 2020, according to the report.
The report stated that while the volume of crisis contacts cannot be attributed to any one factor, including legislation, a qualitative analysis of the crisis contacts found that:
- Transgender and nonbinary youth in Texas have directly stated that they are feeling stressed, using self-harm and considering suicide due to laws being debated in their state
- Some transgender and nonbinary youth have expressed fear over losing access to sports that "provide important acceptance in their lives"
KVUE spoke with Out Youth about the bill and the potential for impacts on kids.
"That sort of rhetoric is going to have an incredibly detrimental effect on our youth who are already struggling with transphobia and just trying to be young people and just trying to live their lives and enjoy themselves and do things that their peers are used to doing, like playing sports," said Sarah Kapostasy, the clinical and social services director of Out Youth.
She said the past year has taken a toll on kids with the pandemic, racial justice and now discussions in the Capitol.
"All of those things combined are really putting us in a position where folks are struggling even more than usual with things like depression, anxiety and suicidality, which we already know disproportionately impacts this community in the best of times," said Kapostasy.
On a broader scale, The Trevor Project's 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 52% of transgender and nonbinary youth have seriously considered suicide in the past year.
"I really just want to say, we see you. We love you. Your existence is beautiful and important to us. And you know, as a therapist, I want to support you, and I want to continue to fight for your rights. And I know there's a lot of other people out there who feel the same way. So please don't give up hope and you're perfect just the way you are," Kapostasy added.
For LGBTQ mental health support, you can call the Trevor Project’s 24/7 toll-free support line at 866-488-7386. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text 741741 to speak with a trained crisis counselor.
Here's a list of other resources:
- Crisis Text Line: employs nonconsensual active rescue using 911, first responders and potential law enforcement. Text HOME to 741741
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: employs nonconsensual active rescue using 911, first responders, and potential law enforcement. Call 1-800-273-8255.
- 988: employs nonconsensual active rescue using 911, first responders and potential law enforcement
- GLBT National Hotline: 888-843-4564
- The California Peer-Run Warm Line: 1-855-845-7415
- National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline by RAINN: 800-656-4673
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
- Sex, Gender, and Relationships Hotline (SGR Hotline): 415-989-7374
- Anti-violence Project hotline: 212-714-1141
- National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 24-hour Hopeline: 800-622-2255
- Social Services Information: Call 211
- Thrive Lifeline: for marginalized people in STEM fields
- Trans Lifeline: U.S. 877-565-8860; Canada 877-330-6366
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