The path of the broader LGBTQ rights movement is long and nonlinear, and even amid certain milestones of progress, it is crucial to stand together and continue to create a world where everyone experiences joy, affirmation, and freedom from fear of threats to their basic human rights. One element of creating this future is protecting young people, helping to shepherd them through the darkest days, saving lives and offering paths forward in support.
The Trevor Project emerged in the wake of a public health crisis affecting LGBTQ youth. According to the nonprofit’s research, LGBTQ young people are “four times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers,” and over 1.8 million LGBTQ young people consider ending their lives in each year per a 2019 study.
In over 20 years of work, The Trevor Project has evolved into a leading organization of hope and life-saving support, developing from a 24-hour crisis intervention hotline into a global effort inspiring hope and saving the lives of young LGBTQ people.
What is The Trevor Project?
The Trevor Project is “the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.” A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the organization brings life-affirming and life-saving programs to LGBTQ youth including a free 24-hour crisis support phone line, free secure text chat service, resources for on-campus support, an advocacy network, ambassadors, and more.
The Trevor Project History
Founded in 1998, The Trevor Project began as an idea sparked by a creative endeavor. Writer Celeste Lecesne wrote and performed a solo show called Word of Mouth about a young gay character named Trevor. Producers Peggy Rajski and Randy Stone connected with Lecesne on the idea of turning the show into a short film, and the resulting Trevor went on to win the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.
While promoting the film, Rajski realized that there weren’t dedicated resources to help people like Trevor, who in the film is seen navigating homophobia while grappling with his sexuality and experience of suicidal ideation that escalates to an attempt to end his life. With Lecesne’s help securing funding, what’s now known as The Trevor Project’s 24-hour national crisis line was formed. The organization has since evolved to provide a variety of other free support resources for LGBTQ youth under 25
How The Trevor Project Gives Back
The Trevor Project provides support to LGBTQ youth through emergency and crisis intervention alongside ongoing resources to help them lead happy, fulfilling lives in the day to day.
Emergency support and crisis intervention are at the foundation of The Trevor Project’s work. These resources include the Trevor Lifeline, “the only national 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention lifeline for LGBTQ young people under 25, available at 1-866-488-7386.” Also available to LGBTQ youth in need of support are TrevorChat and TrevorText, both free, confidential, instant messaging and text messaging services with trained volunteer counselors.
Suicide Prevention Trainings and Resources
The Trevor Project provides a broad spectrum of additional help to those in need of ongoing support to stay encouraged and affirmed. These efforts include PSAs, a handbook for navigating coming out safely and “a roadmap to help school leaders easily navigate ways to bring suicide prevention policies and resources to their schools, developed in collaboration with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the American School Counselor Association, and the National Association of School Psychologists.”
Creating community is a huge step for helping young people remember that their lives matter and that they are loved. To that end, The Trevor Project offers a social networking community for LGBTQ people ages 13 to 24, volunteer ambassadors in select major cities, a youth advisory council “ who raise awareness, develop leadership, advocate, and fundraise in support of The Trevor Project’s life-saving, life-affirming work,” and an advocacy network to connect supports to ways “to take action to improve policies and legislation that protect LGBTQ youth.”
Impact and Future Plans for The Trevor Project
In over 20 years of work, The Trevor Project has been making a critical difference in protecting the lives of LGBTQ youth. Here are just a few things they’ve accomplished:
- The nonprofit has grown into the leading global organization dedicated to protecting LGBTQ youth from suicide
- The Trevor Project operates the “the largest safe space social network for LGBTQ youth to connect,” in 100 countries around the globe
- Providing 24/7 support by phone, instant messaging, or text messaging for crisis intervention and support
As it looks to the future, The Trevor Project aims to support “1.8 million crisis contacts annually by the end of [its] 25th year” by growing the organization’s support and response capacity steadily between now and 2023.
The organization is also working to expand its international support services and offer support in new languages, while pushing for universal adoption of its model school policies for suicide prevention, among other continued improvements in its education and advocacy efforts.
How to Support The Trevor Project
You can donate directly to The Trevor Project via their website, donate your cash back to The Trevor Project with Giving Assistant when shopping online, or explore other ways to fundraise. Supporters can also find a variety of ways to volunteer with the nonprofit to make a difference.
Through a unified effort and continued commitment to improvement with its team of volunteers and donations, The Trevor Project can continue to make a dramatic difference building on its efforts to protect the lives of LGBTQ youth and ensure a safer, happier future for everyone.
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