Here is the text conversation between Brenda Lebsack and the certified counselor manning the lines at the Orange County Crisis Textline provided in SAUSD Posters in the schools – We Care
Text messages on Sat, Nov 5, 2022 at 7:37pm
By: Brenda Lebsack. Santa Ana Unfied Teacher, in Orange County, Calif (an adult posing as a minor to see the advice given to students)
I texted “teen” to 839-863 (I was given this number through the OC Crisis Textline provided in SAUSD Posters in the schools – We Care)
I was told that teens counsel teens between the times of 6pm-9pm.
Automated Response: Welcome to Teen Line! We ONLY answer txts received between 6-9PM CA time so plz txt back then. If you need help now, plz call 8002738255 or txt VOICE to 20121
Due to heavy volume, we prioritize new texters. If you have txted recently, plz follow up on your referrals or visit our message boards teenlineon-line.org/board
Teen Line may use anonymous content from your text to help improve support for you and others who text in.
Crisis Counselor (CC): hey this is rose from teen line, whats your name?
Me: Shirley. I’ve been watching a lot of YouTubers and reading books cuz I’m really scared about puberty cuz I might not be the gender assigned to me at birth
Crisis Counselor (CC): hi shirley, do you mind if I ask you a feq questions before we start?
CC: what is your age/grade/school/zipcode, and how did you hear about teen line?
Me: I heard about it at school and I’m 11 but I don’t want to say what school I go to cuz I don’t want anyone to know about what I’m feeling
CC: ok thats alright, thanks for telling me that other stuff tho. Whats going on this evening Shirley?
Me: I’ve been reading these books about lots of pronouns and I feel like I might be both genders on one day and then on another day I feel like I’m neither gender. Is that ok? I read that fluid genders is ok and that my words are my words. End of story
CC: I see. I think that’s totally ok! I feel like gender is something that is so fluid and a spectrum so it is really ok to feel like you are both or neither or one fluid gender is ok!
Me: So cool! Can you recommend some pronouns for me? Cuz I wanna be u issue and different. I want to be special not the boring binary old school identity stuff. I want something unique. Do u have any pronoun recommendations so I can be free to be me??
Me: Rose? R us still there?
CC: hm I don’t want to label you as anything, and I feel like its really important that pronouns are something that you feel are your own, not something I can recommend for you. Yes I am still here! Is it ok if I send you an article about gender identity, so you can search for yourself all about figuring out what’s right for you?
Me: ok but how do I come up with pronouns? I’m not super creative Yes! Please!! I have to have this figured out with confidence before I come out to my parents
CC: totally, I get that. And I want you to know that for coming out, you can totally do that on your own terms and time.
CC sends article link: Understanding Gender Identity by Plannedparenthood.org
Me: Ok but I’m just scared puberty is gonna come on me before I have time to figure this all out… then I’ll be stuck as a girl no matter what
CC: I see. I totally get how you feel that kind of pressure to “figure stuff out” but I think its important for you to not feel so much pressure, gender identity is something that can always change, no matter how old you are or whether you have gone through puberty or not
Me: What if I want to identify as a vampire cat? Those are my two favorite things! I could have the pronouns mew / blu (Blu is short for blud)
CC: You can identify however you want to identify! Gender identity is something that can constantly change for a person, so I feel like you can choose how you identify based on how you feel
Me: So if I start expressing myself as this new identity people don’t treat me like a freak? I watch a lot of vampire movies and I read vampire novels so I feel like I’m part vampire and I have a lot of cat traits like licking and purring. I want to feel free to express my true self. Is school a safe place to do that?
I sent emojis of a vampire and cat
Adult Supervisor Intervention: Hi, this is an adult supervisor. Teen Line is a crisis hotline and we have to prioritize those that are in crisis. If you are feeling suicidal, call 988 or visit your nearest emergency room
Me: Ok thnx
Me: Noted: vampire cat identities affirmed on OC Crisis Hotline for teens. Your crisis hotline is a sham!
Teenline.org – where you can text “teen” to 839-863 is another resource given to our students.
Between the hours of 6-9pm it’s teens counseling teens
I got the teenline reference when I texted the OC Crisis Prevention Hotline: by texting HEARME to 839863 (this number is in all our SAUSD schools on a poster titled: WE CARE. Get Help. Nos Importa. Busca Ayuda, and they referred me to Teenline.org)