The transgender advocacy group Trans Lifeline, a national hotline operated entirely by trans people to provide peer and crisis support across the U.S. and Canada, has launched a Spanish-language extension. In the last two years, Trans Lifeline’s hotline has received a massive uptick in calls from people who speak Spanish, sparking the need to have Spanish-speaking operators, according to a blog post by the company.
From 2018 to 2019, Trans Lifeline operators answered 23 times more calls tagged as Spanish language. They also experienced a 386% increase in calls tagged Latinx and a 146% increase in calls from immigrants—including those in detention centers.
Álvaro Cuervo, a bilingual staff operator with a background in clinical mental health work, says, “Offering this service can even have an effect on how people think about immigration, racial justice issues, and trans issues. The work we do on the line is very different because of that ‘no active rescue’ policy. Folks feel more comfortable calling our line and speaking to a stranger instead of a mental health provider. Once you take away the fear of being hospitalized and institutionalized, people are able to be more vulnerable.”
“It’s important to try to remove as many barriers as possible, and it’s a good thing if we can remove the language barrier to get people the resources they need,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, in a statement to CNN. The numbers for the hotline remain the same. U.S.: 877–565–8860; Canada: 877–330–6366.