Digging Deep & Reaching Out

Hello everyone!

I hope that everyone has had a good week! I got to go to my first UGA football game as a student yesterday and had a lot of fun.

Originally I had a different topic for my first substantive blog post, but I became aware of an opportunity to write about something that deeply affects the trans community and wanted to give my thoughts on it. You see, today marks the first day of national suicide prevention week. Sadly, too many trans people are faced with adversities that lead them to feel like they have nowhere to turn. A national survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality found that in 2011, 41% of trans people had at some point in their lives attempted suicide.

The reasons vary as to why there is such a high rate of attempted suicide in the trans community. Discrimination in education, housing, employment, and in medical treatment are likely factors influencing the high rate of depression and suicide. Lack of acceptance from friends and family also are factors that deeply influence the daily struggles of trans people.

So what does this mean? Well on a societal level, it means that we have a lot of work to do. Trans people are in desperate need of legislation that protects us from discrimination. I urge everyone to contact their representatives about supporting the Equality Act (H.R. 3185) that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity as protected classes. It also means that trans people and allies need to speak up when they see and experience instances of discrimination.

On a more personal level, it’s scary; I’m not going to lie. Everyone knows that it’s not easy to be a trans person in today’s world, but what everyone doesn’t know is how lonely it can be at times. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the magnitude of everything going on in my life. As a trans law student, I have to think about not only the high rate of depression and suicide for the trans community but also the legal community. Lawyers deal with high rates of depression, and as result suicide is becoming a serious concern for the legal community. As part of orientation, UGA Law had a segment dedicated to mental health, which gave information on not only taking care of yourself but also looking out for fellow classmates. I am lucky to have a good group of friends and family that I know that I can lean on when times get tough. I am also trying to make time for things that I enjoy outside of law school, like playing golf and working out. I haven’t been that successful as of yet, but I expect to get more efficient with my schoolwork so I have that extra time.

I hope that everyone has a good and healthy week. If you are struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, please reach out to someone. If you don’t feel like you can talk to someone who you know, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline telephone number; it is 1(800) 273-8255.

All of my best,

Harris

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