Texas Governor Greg Abbott. (Getty/Montinique Monroe)
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services has removed suicide prevention resources for LGBT+ youth from its website.
BNC News reported that on February 1, the department’s suicide prevention page listed four organizations “for those at risk of suicide” – The Suicide Prevention Lifeline, The Veterans Crisis Line, Crisis Text Line and The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention charity for LGBT+ youth.
But on February 5, The Trevor Project had disappeared. This is the only resource that has been removed from the page.
Charity is always listed as a resource on a downloadable file Youth Suicide Prevention PDF, but it is much less accessible and is not marked as a specifically LGBT organization.
Sam Ames, director of advocacy and government affairs at The Trevor Project, said BNC News that removing resources “because they are specific to LGBTQ youth is not only offensive and wrong, it is dangerous.”
Ames continued, “We’re talking about a group of young people who are more than four times more likely attempt suicide compared to their peers.
“Especially in this time of unprecedented political attacks on LGBTQ youth, we encourage all youth-serving organizations and government agencies to learn more about the Trevor Project’s life-saving crisis services and make them known to young people and families who need support the most.”
Over the past year, Texas’ attacks on LGBT+ people, especially trans children, have accelerated at an alarming rate, from the closure of the state’s only public gender clinic for trans youth, to the banning of LGBT-inclusive books from libraries, to relentless bills targeting trans youth.
Just last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who once oversaw a ban on trans kids playing sports, attacked gender-affirming health care, comparing it to ” child abuse”.
Days after state Attorney General Ken Paxton called life-saving puberty blockers “child abuse” and compared gender-affirming surgery to female genital mutilation, Abbott sent a letter to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services stating that blocking health care for trans children would amount to “protecting children from abuse.”
Abbott instructed the department “to conduct prompt and thorough investigations of all reported cases of Texan children subjected to abusive gender transition procedures.”
Chase Strangio, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, wrote on Twitter: “This is an absolute nightmare… What [Paxton and Abbott] do is terrifying.
“They scare children, their families and their doctors into thinking they will investigate if they confirm their trans children and patients.
“It will cause severe stress and anxiety, could limit medical care, discourage parents from loving and supporting their children, and could lead to unlawful family investigations.”
Talk to NPR, Emmett Schelling, Executive Director of the Transgender Education Network of Texas, added, “State leaders have said, ‘We would rather see dead children…instead of happy, loved, supported, and fulfilled trans children who are alive and healthy.’