Blog & Events

PowerOn: Providing Technology to Underserved LGBTQ Youth

As a queer Division I runner in college who often felt alone in his sports community, Trevor Youth Advisory Council member Tom Woermer found that the ally community embraced his identity. In an effort to help other LGBTQ youth feel less isolated, he started the PowerOn initiative with The Trevor Project, Straight But Not Narrow, and human-I-T to help underserved LGBTQ youth gain access to computers, tablets, and phones. Now research nonprofit LGBT Technology Partnership & Institute has joined the the PowerOn initiative to further help LGBTQ youth establish invaluable connections and support networks.

For some LGBTQ young people, the internet is the sole place to find peers, engage in civic activities, and search for medical and health information. According to GLSEN’s “Out Online” study, 52% of LGBTQ youth who are not out to peers in person have used the internet to connect with other LGBTQ people. 50% of LGBTQ youth have at least one close online friend, and 77% take part in an online community that supports a cause or issue. It is for this reason that The Trevor Project joined PowerOn after building TrevorSpace.org, a safe, confidential, online network of over 200,000 LGBTQ youth and their straight ally friends.  “At The Trevor Project, we know that connecting to a community can reduce the risk for suicide attempts and other high-risk behaviors. That’s why we are so excited for this collaboration,” says Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project.

Initially, Tom began raising awareness of PowerOn by reaching out to rural LGBTQ centers where he knew LGBTQ youth would feel safe and comfortable, eventually expanding his efforts to homeless shelters.  After providing 40 computers and tablets to 40 homeless LGBTQ youth at the True Colors Fund and several other centers, PowerOn began to provide 100 phones and service plans to LGBTQ youth around the D.C. area.

Most recently, The Fosters actor Gavin Mackintosh announced that he’ll be donating unused and old electronics to LGBTQ youth through a PowerOn PSA, and we are grateful for the visibility. As Tom says, “PowerOn is eliminating barriers that once prevented LGBTQ youth from finding themselves through community connections.”

If you would like to support PowerOn, you can donate old laptops, tablets, and smartphones at human-i-t.org/ally. human-I-T will collect and refurbish all computers free of charge. Thank you for helping us give LGBTQ youth instant access to open-source technology and LGBTQ online resources, like The Trevor Project’s TrevorChat and TrevorText, TrevorSpace.org, and Trevor Support Center. We look forward to seeing you #PowerOn on Twitter!

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Straight But Not Narrow

Founded in 2011, Straight But Not Narrow has quickly become a leading ally organization.  With the help of celebrities and other young influencers, SBNN is a 501c3 non-profit charity primarily focused on straight youth and young adults, and strives to positively influence the perception of, and behavior toward their LGBTQ peers. For more information, visit www.wearesbnn.com and follow on Twitter at @WeAreSBNN.

LGBT Technology Partnership & Institute

The LGBT Technology Institute is a tax-exempt non-profit organization conducting cutting edge research at the intersection of LGBT communities and technology and creates resources, tools, and programs to support LGBT communities. The LGBT Technology Institute strives to serve LGBT communities through education, programs, partnerships and research, and is committed to expanding research to better LGBT communities all around the world. For more information, visit www.lgbttechpartnership.org and follow at @LGBTTech.

human-I-T

human-I-T is a tech-based non-profit in Los Angeles, California that breathes new life into old devices. A socially responsible company, human-I-T is leading the charge to close the digital divide by turning E-waste into opportunities and educational tools. By partnering with local governments and organizations, human-I-T creates programs that ensure no one is left behind digitally. For more information about how to help bridge the digital divide, visit smarthuman.org. Follow @right2tech.