By Charlotte Lascelles
DEEP CONCERN has been expressed for members of the LGBTQ community in the US after a surge in phone calls to suicide hotlines following Donald Trump’s election victory.
Between 1am and 2am on November 9 there were 660 calls made to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in a single hour – more than double the average. And the Crisis Text Line, a text message based helpline, received twice as many texts during that time.
While Trump has stated that he is a supporter of the LGBTQ rights, during the election campaign he showed support for the anti-transgender North Carolina “bathroom bill”, and pledged to sign the Republican-backed First Amendment Defence Act which many fear would lead to an increase in discrimination.
He was also quoted on gay marriage as saying, “If I’m elected, I would be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things”.
His vice-president, Mike Pence, has been more vocal on his views against LGBTQ members as he supports gay conversion therapy that he wants funded by taxpayers and in the past has opposed the Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal in 2011.
Harvey Coates, 17, from Houston, Texas, said: “I feel that we’re all in danger in the LGBT community. Even though Trump has recently stated that he supports the LGBT community I cannot trust him after his sexist, homophobic and racist comments that he has made.
“Trump may say that he supports the community but Pence, the guy that is supposed to be helping run the country, is completely against our community and this scares me massively.”
LGBTQ organisations however have assured the community that there is hope for the future.
Mary Beth Maxwell from Human Rights Campaign in the US said: “The good news is that the majority of Americans are on our side, and the Human Rights Campaign won’t stop fighting until every single person, in this country and around the world, knows that tomorrow will be better than today.
“It will take time to fully process the outcome of this election, and the enormous challenges we now face. But one thing is certain, we must move forward with greater strength and resolve than ever before.”