Trans Lifeline FAQ

Trans Lifeline
3 min readFeb 26, 2016

Why have a separate crisis line for transgender people?

Transgender people are 22 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population. However, many trans people who call suicide hotlines face ignorance and even discrimination. When a trans person is in crisis, invalidating their identity can reinforce the reasons they call or make the situation worse.

What distinguishes Trans Lifeline among other suicide hotlines?

Trans Lifeline is a grassroots, peer-to-peer network for trans people of all ages. We are led by people who have experienced suicidality, and we are the only hotline that focuses on transgender people in crisis.

Can I call the Trans Lifeline if I need help but am not suicidal?

Yes. We are a warm line meaning that people can call us for a variety of reasons with a variety of needs. Many of our callers are seeking resources such as information about how to access transition-related health care or find support groups in their area.

What can I expect from an operator?

Trans Lifeline operator are all trans-identified volunteer who want to help you get through what you are going through. We train people to listen non-judgmentally, ask questions, and help you access resources. Depending on their comfort, some operators may share their own experiences with you. None of our operators will call emergency responders on you without your consent and cooperation. If you would like to report any problems with a Trans Lifeline operator, please contact us.

How does someone become an operator?

Operators must be over 18 years old, desire to help other trans folks in crisis, have a working phone, and must attend a Trans Lifeline training. If you are interested in becoming an operator, please apply online.

How do you train your operators?

We teach people to listen non-judgmentally, ask questions, and help callers access resources. Our training is data-driven and includes theories of suicidality in general as well as research specific to the trans community.

Why don’t you automatically call emergency services on callers who are suicidal?

The trans community is at acute and ongoing risk for attempting suicide. We have conducted participatory research that shows many trans people don’t call traditional hotlines, and a leading reasons is because they are afraid of emergency responders. We want as many trans people in crisis to feel comfortable getting help as possible. Therefore, we only call emergency responders if a caller explicitly consent to it.

Who can I call if I can’t get through?

Due to lack of resources, we cannot keep up with our call volume. We are working very hard to grow so that this doesn’t happen anymore. In the meantime, if you need help and can’t get through, then reach out to: the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273–8255. While we cannot guarantee it will be a safe space, we have conducted trans competency trainings with some of their staff. Let us know if you have a bad experience, and we will address it with them.

How is Trans Lifeline Funded?

97% of our budget comes from small-scale donations from everyday people like you. We are by and for the trans community, and majority of our support comes from that community as well. We are actively seeking more funding from allies, large donors, foundations, government agencies, and corporate sponsors. If you are interested in helping us raise money or have a lead on a funding opportunity, please contact us.

How can I help?

Trans Lifeline would not be possible without hundreds of volunteers, donors, and supporters. Visit www.translifeline.org/help for more details.

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Trans Lifeline

A peer support & crisis hotline, and microgranting organization by and for trans people. (877) 565-8860