Anti-LGBTQ users on 4chan targeted the Trevor Projects suicide prevention services on Tuesday in an effort to prevent LGBTQ youth from getting help.
In a post on the notorious platform’s “Politically Incorrect” imageboard, an anonymous user posted a plan to bog down the nonprofit organization’s crisis hotline and online chats with fake requests for help. The goal was to “f**k up the queue so sodomites and f*gs commit suicide,” to “demoralize the therapists,” and “waste as much of their resources as possible.”
According to The Daily Dot, the original thread appears to have been deleted, but it’s unclear whether it was removed by 4chan or the original poster. A second thread has been archived and was still visible on the site as of Tuesday evening.
Alex Kaplan, a senior researcher at progressive media watchdog org Media Matters for America, posted screenshots of the original post and responses from trolls sharing screenshots of their chats with Trevor Project councilors.
Users on far-right message board 4chan "/pol/" tried to clog up The Trevor Project's hotline for LGBTQ+ youth considering self-harm with fake cases to prevent people from accessing the hotline. Users posted images of their conversations & claimed were able to clog up the hotline. pic.twitter.com/ayiJavw8vA
— Alex Kaplan (@AlKapDC) August 30, 2022
One 4chan user posted a screenshot from the Trevor Project’s online crisis chat saying that “wait times to reach a counselor are higher than usual.”
“The act of attacking a crisis services line intended to prevent suicide among young people is egregious,” the Trevor Project said in a statement. “Our crisis counselors work around the clock to be there for LGBTQ youth who feel like they have nowhere to turn, and it’s harrowing that anybody would attempt to compromise our lifeline or encourage suicide.”
“LGBTQ youth are at significantly increased risk for suicide—not because of anything inherent about their identities, but because of the stigma, bullying, violence, and discrimination that they face,” the Trevor Project said. “The incident of users on 4chan who maliciously planned to overtake our crisis lines today is exactly the kind of mistreatment and abuse that contributes to heightened suicide risk. Alarmingly, our research has found that every 45 seconds, an LGBTQ young person attempts suicide. Every second counts when you work in suicide prevention, and we strongly condemn this intent to obstruct our lines and create even more barriers for LGBTQ people who rely on our help. We are working diligently in the face of this disruption to protect our counselors and those youth who need us.”
The Trevor Project became a target of far-right trolls earlier this year when Chaya Raichik, who runs the influential anti-LGBTQ Twitter account “Libs of TikTok,” called the non-profit “a grooming organization” in a tweet that was later deleted. Other anti-LGBTQ organizations and pundits like Moms for Liberty and Lauren Chen followed suit, equating the Trevor Project’s outreach to LGBTQ teens in crisis with giving abusers access to children.