Connect with us

News

Now That Trump Has Won We Must Reassure LGBT Youth That Our Movement Is Resilient and We Are Not Alone

Published

on

Responding to the Impending Trump-Induced LGBT Health Crisis

The prospect of a Trump presidency has aptly been described as a “mental health crisis” waiting to happen.

Even before the campaign began in earnest, LGBT health advocate D.A. Stewart warned that “A Trump presidency would not only be dark and disturbing for LGBT Americans, it could very well mean taking several steps backward in our general health as a community, undoing years of public health strides in inclusive care for underserved populations in our country.”

Not surprisingly, in the days immediately following the election, there was a dramatic spike in calls to organizations and support groups that serve the mental health needs of the LGBT community.

The Trevor Project and TransLifeLine, organizations that provide suicide hot lines for LGBT youth and the Trans community, respectively, reported a record number of calls from people concerned about the election results. Similarly, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, an organization founded in 2005, logged an unprecedented number of calls from LGBT individuals coping with feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, and a sense of betrayal.

Screen_Shot_2016-11-27_at_12.36.55_PM.jpg“We started getting increased call volume at about 10 p.m. on election night, and it hasn’t slowed down at all,” Gretta Martela, director of Trans Line told Mother Jones on Nov. 11, and added: “In fact, it’s on the rise still.”

Steve Mendelsohn, deputy executive director of the Trevor Project, said queer youth who contacted his hotline are “telling us that they’re feeling anxious and scared…They talk about things that came up during the election campaign. So a fear that perhaps gay marriage will be reversed. Or that conversion therapy will be promoted. Or that their insurance might be taken away.”

The Trevor Project is currently training many more volunteers to help field the increasing volume of calls, Mendelsohn said.

The Crisis Text Line, a support network that people in distress can contact for help via text message, also reported a record number of messages.  The Crisis Text Line said in a press release that “The words ‘election’ and ‘scared’ are the top two things being mentioned” and “the most common association with ‘scared’ was ‘LGBTQ.’ ”

The increase in calls to these groups could have been predicted. We have long known that LGBT youth are at significantly greater risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors than heterosexual youth. Gay and lesbian adults also report a history of more suicidal ideation and attempts than their heterosexual counterparts. Transgender people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are also at greater risk for suicidal thoughts and attempts.

In addition to the general risk factors for suicide, such as depression and substance abuse, LGBT people also face additional stressors, such as discrimination and hate speech, as well as bullying and spiritual terrorism, that put us at an increased risk for suicidal behavior.

Indeed, a 2002 study by psychologists Bill Jesdale and Sally Zierler found a direct correlation between LGBT rights and the rate of suicide in adolescents. The study discovered that states that had enacted laws protecting LGBT citizens experienced a statistically significant decrease in their adolescent suicide rates. The study offered hope that by creating a more accepting climate for LGBT people, the rate of suicidal thoughts and behaviors among this population could be decreased.

A corollary of the Jesdale-Zierler findings is also likely true. When the rights of LGBT people are under attack, then suicidal thoughts and behaviors will occur at an increased frequency.

Hence, we must be especially vigilant when our rights are assaulted by politicians and hateful religious figures. Lives are literally at stake.

During this holiday period, when people in general are particularly subject to depression, we especially need to  reassure LGBT youth that our movement is a resilient one.

We have experienced setbacks before. In 1986, for example, the United States Supreme Court delivered a devastating blow when, in a 5-4 ruling in Bowers v. Hardwick, it upheld laws that criminalized homosexual activity even in private.

In response, the gay rights legal movement turned its attention to state courts, and over the next fifteen years achieved a string of important victories as state courts either struck down sodomy laws or indicated that they could not be enforced against consenting adults whose conduct was private and non-commercial.

Although there were losses in the state courts, many of the lawsuits ended in victory for the LGBT plaintiffs who challenged the laws, and a few states during the 1990s legislatively repealed them, so that by 2003, when the issue again reached the Supreme Court, barely a dozen states retained actively enforceable sodomy laws on their statute books, and in only four states were those laws solely targeted at same-sex conduct.

In 2003, in Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court summarily reversed Bowers v. Hardwick in an expansive ruling that has been pivotal to the legal and social progress that we have made since.Â

Similarly, in our epic quest for marriage equality, there were many defeats in court and at the ballot box before the tide turned in our favor, first in a few state courts, then in public opinion and in more state and federal courts and, finally, in the Supreme Court itself.

Even during the long nightmare of the George W. Bush administration, when we were scapegoated and our rights cynically used as a wedge issue to motivate the religious right to vote Republican, we not only persevered but made significant advances.

The specter of a Trump-Pence administration has no doubt shadowed our Thanksgiving celebrations, but we must not allow the disappointing election to cause us to forget the many successes we have achieved and the many blessings for which we should be grateful.

Screen_Shot_2016-11-27_at_12.30.52_PM.jpgWe need to emphasize that the 2016 election was not a referendum on LGBT issues and that Trump and Pence received no mandate to erode LGBT rights.

Moreover, we must remember that we are now better prepared than ever to resist the attacks on our rights that will come from a Trump-Pence administration stocked with homophobic politicians.

The election of Trump has encouraged and emboldened bigots and haters throughout the country, but we need to remember that we have unprecedented levels of support. We are not alone in our fight for equal rights and dignity.

We must keep our faith in Dr. Martin Luther King’s maxim that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

Rather than surrender to despair, we must redouble our commitment to action.

Part of that commitment to action must be an increased vigilance in protecting the most vulnerable members of our society, including LGBT youth.

We must increase our contributions to such organizations as the Trevor Project, the TransLifeLine, and the Ali Forney Center, as well as to our advocacy organizations such as the NGLTF, the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, GLAD, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, GLAAD, and many others.

We must also remind young people that “It Gets Better.”

The “It Gets Better Project” grew out of a mental health crisis in 2010, when the nation was rocked by a series of well-publicized bullying scandals and by the suicides of a number of LGBT teens.

Alarmed by the suicide of Billy Lucas, a Greensburg, Indiana teenager who had been mercilessly bullied, Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller founded the project as a channel on YouTube that features videos of LGBT adults and allies reassuring young people that, however awful their predicament might seem at the time, “it gets better.”

“I realized,” Savage told a New York Times reporter, “that with things like YouTube and social media, we can talk directly to these kids. We can make an end run around the schools that don’t protect them, from parents who want to keep gay kids isolated and churches that tell them that they are sinful or disordered.”

The first video in the series featured Savage and Miller, who were both bullied in high school, explaining how fulfilling life became after they left high school, met each other, and began their family.

Soon after its launch, the series went viral on the Internet and grew to include tens of thousands of videos.

In the video below, made in October 2010 to benefit the Trevor Project, Broadway stars reassure young people in an original song written by Jay Kuo & Blair Shepard.

Perhaps the most powerful “It Gets Better” musical video is the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus’s rendition of Stephen Schwartz’s “Testimony.”

Schwartz’s 2012 composition features the voices of individuals in pain, but his work envisions triumph as suffering individuals come to find solace in communion with others. It acknowledges the heartbreaking anguish many gay people feel in a homophobic society, but it also joyfully celebrates the rewards of self-acceptance and the happiness that can be found by living life honestly.

If you just “hang in” and “hang on” and accept yourself, the song advises, you can experience “the joy of living with authenticity.”

Schwartz, who has written such hit musicals as Godspell (1971), Pippin (1972), and Wicked (2003), collaborated with Savage as he set to music the heartfelt testimony of contributors to the “It Gets Better” project. The result is an extraordinarily moving work that is beautifully performed by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

If you’re an LGBTQ person and need someone to talk to, these groups are ready to help:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-237-8255 (TALK)

Crisis Text Line: Text “GO” to 741741

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386

Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860

GLBT National Youth Talk: 1-800-246-7743

Â

Image by Ted Eytan via Flickr and a CC licenseÂ

Â

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

News

Comer Announces Public Hearing After Hunter Biden Closed Door Testimony

Published

on

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jim Comer announced he will hold a public hearing with Hunter Biden after the president’s son testified behind closed doors for most of Wednesday.

“I think this was a great deposition for us, it proved several bits of our evidence, that we’ve been conducting throughout this investigation, but there are also some contradictory statements that I think need further review,” Comer told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

“So this impeachment inquiry will now go to the next phase, which will be a public hearing. And that’s something that I think everyone in the media has been asking a lot of questions about. Something that I know that Mr. Biden and his attorney both demanded, just as I said, when we said we were going to do the deposition first, we will have a public hearing next.”

It’s unclear what other witnesses Chairman Comer and Chairman Jordan will present.

Comer claimed that parts of Hunter Biden’s testimony contradicted some of their previous witness’ testimony, although he refused to elaborate.

READ MORE: Court Denies Trump Request to Pause $454M Bond Requirement Amid His Cash Liquidity Claim

Hunter Biden stated in the opening remarks he released publicly Wednesday morning that Chairman Comer and Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan had built their “entire partisan house of cards on lies told by the likes of Gal Luft, Tony Bobulinski, Alexander Smirnov, and Jason Galanis.”

“Luft, who is a fugitive, has been indicted for his lies and other crimes; Smirnov, who has made you dupes in carrying out a Russian disinformation campaign waged against my father, has been indicted for his lies; Bobulinski, who has been exposed for the many false statements he has made, and Galanis, who is serving 14 years in prison for fraud.”

Politico described Hunter Biden’s opening statement as “blistering.”

“I am here today,” the President’s son began, “to provide the Committees with the one uncontestable fact that should end the false premise of this inquiry: I did not involve my father in my business. Not while I was a practicing lawyer, not in my investments or transactions domestic or international, not as a board member, and not as an artist. Never.”

Watch Comer below or at this link.

READ MORE: Trump Swore Under Oath He Had $400 Million in Cash – Now He’s Telling a Court a Different Story

Continue Reading

News

Court Denies Trump Request to Pause $454M Bond Requirement Amid His Cash Liquidity Claim

Published

on

A New York appeals court has denied Donald Trump’s request to issue a stay on the state Supreme Court’s ruling ordering the ex-president to pay $454 million in the civil business fraud case brought by Attorney General Letitia James. Trump had offered to post a bond of $100 million as he appeals the ruling, as he suggested he did not have sufficient liquid assets – namely, cash – to post the full amount required.

The judge did, however, pause a portion of the ruling barring Trump from operating a business in New York, and also paused the portion of the ruling barring him from obtaining a loan from a bank registered in the State of New York.

“It’s a mixed bag for Trump, and the former president GAINS some ability, in an interim ruling, to continue his business activities and loan-seeking. But the most crucial request, a stay of enforcement of the $450M+ judgment, has been rejected,” reports Just Security’s Adam Klasfeld.

Unless he can obtain a loan or other financing, Trump, as he admitted in his legal filing, may have to sell some of his assets, likely real estate, to come up with enough cash to satisfy the judgment.

The court “also denied Trump’s request to delay his obligation to post $454 million until his appeal of the civil fraud verdict is over,” CNN adds.

RELATED: Trump Swore Under Oath He Had $400 Million in Cash – Now He’s Telling a Court a Different Story

Continue Reading

News

Trump Swore Under Oath He Had $400 Million in Cash – Now He’s Telling a Court a Different Story

Published

on

Attorneys for Donald Trump are arguing the ex-president and self-professed billionaire should not have to post a bond of $454 million as he appeals the New York State Supreme Court’s ruling holding him liable for civil business fraud. Instead, Trump is offering a bond of $100 million.

But as legal experts are pointing out, under oath, Trump stated he had $400 million in liquid assets. And his attorney, Alina Habba, when asked last week if he could come up with $350 million, said on-camera, “Yes, I mean, he does, of course he has money, you know, he’s a billionaire. We know that.”

Former federal and state prosecutor Ron Filipkowski, now the editor-in-chief of MeidasTouch.com, responded to Habba’s remarks, saying: “As we now know, this was also a lie.”

READ MORE: ‘How Extremism Is Normalized’: Schlapp Furious as Critics Slam CPAC Over Report of Nazis

“Trump says he doesn’t have the cash that both he and Habba told everyone he had, and that ‘properties would have to be sold’ to come up with the money,” Filipkowski adds.

He sums up the situation: “Trump under oath in his deposition: I’m worth at least $10 billion, I have over $3 billion in tangible assets, I have $400 million in cash. Trump to appellate court: I can come up with $100 million and I need more time to sell stuff to come up with the rest.”

Indeed, The New York Times reported earlier this month, “Mr. Trump claimed under oath last year that he was sitting on more than $400 million in cash.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James was quick to urge the court to deny Trump’s offer of $100 million, or, as Just Security’s Adam Klasfeld reports, “to deny Trump’s application to pause enforcement of the judgment pending appeal, including the disgorgement, monitoring, and loan prohibition.”

“Defendants all but concede that Mr. Trump has insufficient liquid assets to satisfy the judgment amount; defendants would need ‘to raise capital’ to do so,” James writes, as Klasfeld notes.

READ MORE: ‘Conspiring With Putin’: Democratic Congressman Brings the Hammer Down on Jim Jordan

Klasfeld points to this section of Trump’s motion that reads: “In the absence of a stay on the terms herein outlined, properties would likely need to be sold to raise capital under exigent circumstances, and there would be no way to recover any property sold following a successful appeal and no means to recover the resulting financial losses from the Attorney General.”

In other words, Trump’s attorneys are saying he would have to sell assets, or properties, at less than market value, and should he win his appeal, he would have no means to be compensated for the difference in value.

“Trump has less than 30 days to post the money to prevent the New York attorney general’s office from taking steps to execute the judgment, including potentially move to seize properties,” CNN adds. “It is not yet clear how he plans to cover the payment.”

Watch the video above or at this link.

Image via Shutterstock

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.