Suicide Hotline Uptick Proves Deadly Damage Done By Anti-LGBT Laws (VIDEO)

Suicide Hotline Uptick Proves Deadly Damage Done By Anti-LGBT Laws (VIDEO)

Hope Being Lost By Some In The LGBT Community Over Anti-Gay Laws

North Carolina’s homophobic, transphobic, bigoted and draconian new HB 2 law which allows for denial of service to people based on their sexual orientation and denies the use of appropriate bathrooms for the trans community may be having a deadly effect on the LGBT population in the state.

Gay Times reports that the Greta Gustarva Mertela, co-founder of Trans Lifeline, a suicide prevention hotline in the state of North Carolina, has seen calls to the helpline double since the law was passed.

Before the law was passed, the line received a high of 200 calls per day. After the law passed, that number rose to high of 357 calls per day. Gretna says that there are often a higher number of calls in the spring, but this year is quite different and the call load far greater.

According to the Daily Beast, the spike in calls comes as no surprise to assistant professor Dr. Kristie L. Seelman from the School of Social Work at Georgia State University. She authored a study printed in February’s “Journal of Homosexuality” that looked at the effects of denying the trans community access to the bathroom of their choice.

“What I’ve heard from transgender people in my past research is that not having access to a bathroom heightens their anxiety and stress, leading them to try to plan their daily lives around when and where they can find a bathroom, sometimes even getting to a point of dehydration or social isolation…We know that stigma and lifetime discrimination influence suicide rates, whether we’re talking about transgender people or another marginalized group. Policies like HB 2 are not solving a problem—they are actually making things worse.”

Gee, who would have thought? A state draws up a law that targets and stigmatizes an entire group of people not based on facts but unfounded fears and the results are an increased number of people feeling isolated and demonized and more willing to take their own lives. You would have thought maybe, before passing a law like this, someone would have thought of this terrible consequence.

As it is, the LGBT community, especially LGBT kids, have a significantly higher rate of suicide and suicide attempts than the straight community according to the Good Therapy organization.

“Among young people, LGBT … and gender-nonconforming kids are more at risk than others. LGBT teens are two to five times more likely than their peers attempt suicide; a study in the journal Pediatrics in 2011 found that 21.5% of their LGBT youth respondents had attempted suicide, compared to 4.2% of non-LGBT respondents. Within this group, gender-nonconforming kids are more at risk than gender-conforming ones.”

Governor Pat McCrory signed the bill into law which allows for discrimination against LGBTs last month. Since then, as The Guardian reports, the state has been the subject of a number of boycotts that are starting to have an economic impact on cities in the state like Raleigh. That city has reported that the loss of business due to the law has added up to $3.1 million so far and is set to climb.

Dennis Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, outlined the losses and expects more trouble to come.

“We continue to receive concerns from definite and tentative groups regarding HB2. We also have a great deal of concern about those groups that were going to consider Raleigh and North Carolina but have now taken us off of their list of consideration due to the bill.”

Feature image by Alex Wong/Getty Images

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Chris Hearn is an ageing freelance writer located in wintery Winnipeg. He is a stay-at-home-parent, amateur stand-up comedian, and a guy with a lot of opinions, much to everyone’s dismay.