NEW YORK — The federal memo that could roll back Obama-era protections for the estimated 1.4 million transgender U.S. residents could jeopardize their mental health, Scienceline reports.
The day after The New York Times revealed the Department of Health and Human Services’ transgender memo, calls to the crisis hotline Trans Lifeline quadrupled, increasing from an average of 187 per day to 471, according to Willamette Week. For context, 40 percent of trans people in the U.S. attempt suicide in their lifetime, nearly nine times the national average. The suicide risk is even higher for disabled trans people and trans people of color, according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, Scienceline reports.
In general, trans people have significantly more mental health problems than cisgender people. At any given time, about 40 percent of trans people in the U.S. experience serious psychological distress, eight times higher than the overall population, Scienceline reports.
The memo’s proposed policy would define sex as male or female at birth based on genitalia alone. If the genitalia doesn’t fit the typical penis/vagina binary, any questions would be settled through genetic testing.