The Trevor Project Commemorates Human Rights Day

Today is #HumanRightsDay, a time for people to help build a world where LGBTQ people are embraced in every community. All should have the right to feel safe living as their authentic selves. Like always, we create that safe space for youth by having counselors on call 24/7 at 866-488-7386, TrevorChat.org, and TrevorSpace.org. But, we are also fighting for the mental health rights of the community so that they will have brighter futures moving forward.

Through our advocacy efforts, we’ve helped get conversion therapy banned in Illinois and Oregon, and in Burbank, we’re implementing a school suicide prevention policy. We’re also fighting to get mental health services funded across states, tribes, and universities through the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act. By next year, we hope all these advocacy efforts become realities on a nation-wide level.

Help us in this fight for human rights at thetrevorproject.org/advocacy.


Supreme Court Upholds Marriage Equality

By Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project

Today we celebrate the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to uphold marriage equality across America. This historic ruling not only affects couples who have been fighting to obtain the basic civil right to get married, but also the many youth who live in families with same-sex parents. Today, all youth, including those who identify as LGBTQ, can have hope that they will grow up in a nation that is moving towards respecting all human rights.

These are exciting times of positive change. The people of our nation are experiencing what is being called “a transgender tipping point” in how the American public views transgender people and their stories; witnessing a powerful social media movement that is bringing to light why all lives matter; and taking a deeper understanding of the need for crisis intervention for our at-risk youth.

Though we all are extremely happy about the Supreme Court’s decision, we at The Trevor Project know that the fight will continue to reach many more milestones and positive changes that shape the future of our youth.

Media Inquiries:

Shawn Steiner, Marketing and Communications Director at The Trevor Project

[email protected]

tel 212.695.8650 ext.402


The Trevor Project Supports the Passing of Georgia House Bill-198

Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO, The Trevor Project expressed support for the passing of House Bill-198 by the state of Georgia on May 5th, 2015.

Georgia HouseHB-198, known and referred to as “Jason Flatt Act-Georgia,” establishes both annual suicide awareness and prevention training for certified school-system personnel as well as the adoption of state and local school district-level policies on suicide awareness and prevention.

The bill was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal at approximately 2:30 PM EDT in Atlanta, Georgia. Georgia joins Tennessee, Louisiana, California, Illinois, Arkansas, Mississippi, West Virginia, Utah, Alabama, South Carolina, Ohio, North Dakota, and Wyoming as the 14th state to ratify similar laws.

“The Trevor Project’s mission and goal is to ensure that all at-risk LGBTQ youth are aware of, and have access to, crisis intervention and suicide prevention services. The fact that leaders within the school systems of 14 states, throughout the nation, will participate in mandatory suicide prevention training gives us hope that the information they learn will impact the lives of, not only LGBTQ youth, but all youth who need these resources,” states Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO, The Trevor Project.

Atlanta based Trevor Ambassador Jamie Woodard, LLC of Wellborn, Wallace & Woodard and member of The Trevor Project’s Board of Directors Jeffrey Paul Wolff of Wells Fargo were at the capital to represent the organization in showing approval of the bill’s enactment. In fact, Mr. Woodard played a vital role in drafting the language and lobbying to ensure the passing of the Jason Flatt Act – Georgia.

“I’ve been volunteering with The Trevor Project for years and have personally seen and talked to youth that need the proper resources to reach out for help,” says Mr. Woodard. “In working with Governor Deal’s office, I wanted to make sure that the language in HB-198 defines the need for school, family and community participation in order to help prevent suicide for at-risk youth. Now with policies and structure in place in all Georgia elementary and secondary education systems, the school system will be able to reach youth at a vital time in life and provide information and means to help.”

Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people ages 13-24. Every day, The Trevor Project saves young lives through its accredited, free and confidential phone, instant message and text messaging crisis intervention services. A leader and innovator in suicide prevention, The Trevor Project offers the largest safe social networking community for LGBTQ youth, best practice suicide prevention educational trainings, resources for youth and adults, and advocacy initiatives. Learn more at TheTrevorProject.org.


Presidential Statement Condemns Harmful “Therapy”

By: Abbe Land, Executive Director & CEO

Parents, families, and young people seek mental health professionals to find trustworthy help and support. Instead, too many youth find conversion therapy – a discredited practice grounded in homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination.

On April 8th, President Obama took a stand against this so-called “therapy” and in doing so, let young LGBTQ Americans know that their wellbeing matters. No young person should ever be shamed by a mental health professional into thinking that who they are is wrong. Instead, youth should be offered care that is ethical and affirming of their identity.

The Trevor Project has been at the forefront of banning these practices in New Jersey, Washington D.C. and California. We’ve already successfully helped to ban conversion therapy in several states, but there is still more work to do.

The Obama Administration’s announcement is a great step forward. Yet, we know that our country is struggling to bring LGBTQ rights into law. Indiana, Arkansas and other states have wanted to enact horrendous laws that would enable discrimination against LGBTQ people. Thankfully, President Obama just signed an executive order banning discrimination against LGBT federal employees and government contractors.

Every step forward makes a difference, and we are so thankful to you for your support. It isn’t always easy, and sometimes there are discouraging setbacks. But when we advocate for justice, for true equality, and for youth who deserve a bright future, we will persevere.

You can stay in the loop on our latest efforts by joining the Trevor Advocacy Network! Just visit www.Trvr.org/AdvocacyCenter to sign up for alerts.


The Trevor Project applauds Obama’s call to end conversion therapy

As one of the national leaders in advocacy and policy change for LGBTQ youth, The Trevor Project applauds the Obama Administration’s call to end conversion  therapy – a discredited practice grounded in homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination.

Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project expressed support for the Obama Administration’s call to end conversion therapy:

“The Trevor Project has been on the forefront of fighting against what is deemed as “conversion therapy” for years.  In fact, we have recently worked to have it banned in California, New Jersey, and in Washington D.C.

As an organization, The Trevor Project offers support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender,  and questioning youth (LGBTQ) who face so much intolerance, prejudice and-even-hatemongering; this can increase a young person’s risk for self-harm and suicide, especially with combined with other factors like harmful conversion therapy efforts. The causes of suicide are complicated, but we know that over 41% of trans people have reportedly attempted suicide, and LGB youth are four times as likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. This is happening in our country, right now. We have to take steps to protect these youth, and help save lives nationwide.

There is no credible evidence that any type of psychotherapy can change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and, in fact, conversion efforts poses critical health risks to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, including depression, shame, decreased self-esteem, social withdrawal, substance abuse, risky behavior, and suicidality. Nearly all the nation’s leading mental health associations, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy have examined conversion efforts and issued cautionary position statements on the utilization of these practices.

The Trevor Project continues to work closely with other policy makers and organizations around the nation to talk to and provide information about the detrimental effects of conversation therapy on LGBTQ youth.

The White House “We The People” petition seeking to ban this discredited practice has been signed by more than 120,000 people. This is a bold statement about how the American population feels.  We encourage people to speak out to friends and family, and over social media networks, about how we can help save young lives by ending conversion therapy,” states Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO, The Trevor Project.


Trevor Celebrates the Life-Affirming Work of Graduating YAC Members

Dozens of inspiring and heroic young people have served on the Trevor Youth Advisory Council (YAC), helping to increase Trevor visibility, advocate for pressing issues facing LGBTQ youth, and show young people with diverse identities that they’re not alone.

As we welcome a group of new YAC members this season, we also say “thank you” to seven graduating members who have spent the last two years making a difference. “The YAC’s graduating members have inspired me because they represent my hopes and dreams for all LGBTQ youth,” said The Trevor Project’s Outreach Coordinator, Mike Jorgensen, who organizes the group. “I look forward to the day when all young people will be able to thrive and achieve great things while celebrating their diverse identities and backgrounds.”

Here are a few of their most notable accomplishments, and reflections:

Travis Amiel (Westchester, NY) was inspired by our founding film, TREVOR, and produced a play about a contemporary gay teen. Travis’ story took place in a world where The Trevor Project exists – and because of that, the teen was able to receive necessary life-saving resources. He reflected, saying, “The YAC has introduced me to people that are devoted to Trevor’s cause in the most inspiring ways. It’s been humbling and exciting to be part of a team filled with such passion, excitement, and genius.”

Madelyn Gelpi (Slidell, LA), a 2014 YAC Co-Chair, helped foster safer and more loving places for LGBTQ youth in Louisiana. Madelyn gained support and advocacy from community leaders and political representatives by creating an inspiring coming out video. Madelyn said, “My future goals in life have everything to do with Trevor’s mission. Everything I’ve done in the YAC has better prepared me for this goal and has also solidified that this is the kind of work I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Luke Knudsen (Dallas, TX) was one of the 2014 YAC Co-Chairs, and promoted advocacy and resources for LGBTQ youth in often-overlooked rural areas. As a leader in the transgender community, Luke strives to create a world in which all gender identities are validated and celebrated. He said, “The YAC provides an unmatched ability to amplify Trevor’s reach and ability to be effective in its services for youth. We are, in essence, the youth Trevor serves, so the YAC is able to help ensure Trevor is effectively achieving its mission.”

Hannah Kopach (Elmhurst, IL) paired with local artist Steve Musgrave in her two-night “Art with Trevor” event to show LGBTQ youth the importance of self-care and creative expressions. For attendees, it was an empowering and healing experience. She said, “It has been a life-changing experience to see how important Trevor’s work is. Even as an ally, I still have the power to help save LGBTQ lives.”

MaKayla Reed (Belfast, ME) was the keynote speaker at Pride Youth Gathering in Maine, where they educated the local community about Trevor’s life-saving resources. MaKayla has the following message to struggling LGBTQ youth: “While things don’t always get better overnight, there will always be someone to talk to in order to get you through. The Trevor Project is here. You are loved, valued, and appreciated.”

Adam White (Ashburn, VA) spread awareness of the importance of faith-inclusivity and family support for LGBTQ youth within the Latter-day Saint community. In 2013, Adam was also presented with the Trevor Youth Innovator Award for his life-affirming work. As a future elementary school teacher, Adam hopes to further his LGBTQ activism within educational systems to provide safe and supportive environments for students of all identities. Check out Adam’s inspiring words to LGBTQ youth in his “It Gets Better at Brigham Young University” and “Just be There” videos.

Emma Zyriek (Bel Air, MD) helped foster a safe and supportive campus environment at Greenville, South Carolina’s Furman University by highlighting RuPaul Drag Race: Season One winner Bebe Zahara’s story of self-exploration and love. Emma hopes to continue her passion with LGBTQ populations, while spreading a beautiful message of positivity and hope.

The Trevor Project celebrates the accomplishments of these seven graduating members and wishes them all the best in their future endeavors. We know that our YAC graduates will go on to do incredible things and continue to advocate for the well-being of LGBTQ youth nationwide!

For more information and important updates (such as the approaching announcement of our newest selected YAC members!), visit our YAC page here.


You are Loved

By: Madelyn Gelpi

“You are loved, you are beautiful, you are not alone.” –These words have echoed through the darkness of my most difficult moments.  In them, I have found solace, hope, courage, and direction. These ideas, while seemingly simple, are some of the most profound pieces of wisdom and comfort we can offer others (and ourselves) throughout our lives.

As an LGBTQ person growing up in Louisiana, I struggled to love myself, let alone accept myself. Because of the lack of acceptance and support in my community, I saw my sexual orientation and gender identity as irreversible flaws that made me unlovable, diseased, and immoral. Even now I find it difficult to articulate the depth of the depression I faced during this period of my life.

When I found accepting friends, family, and communities like The Trevor Project, I came to discover that when I looked inside of myself, expecting to find something wrong, I actually found a person who is incredibly beautiful and unique. I was able to find that “thing,” whether it was my sexual orientation, gender identity, or something else, that made me special, absolutely fabulous, and intricately human.

Through the YAC, I’ve met other LGBTQ people across the country who have overcome similar struggles to accept and love themselves, and now work to raise awareness and educate communities across the country about the issues LGBTQ youth face everyday.   By coming to know so many LGBTQ people who used their own difficult experiences to help others, I discovered that the most powerful force in combating homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination as a whole is echoing, voicing, and reinforcing the feeling that can move the world: love.

The Trevor Project YAC helped me understand that one of the best ways to put this into action was to work towards the betterment of mental health. The knowledge and perspective I gained on the Trevor Project YAC has lead me to my career as a Mental Health Counselor in San Francisco, and will continue to guide me as I attend graduate school next year to obtain a dual masters degree in Public Policy and Social Welfare at UCLA.

The guiding principles I’ve learned as a Trevor Project YAC member are now the values I try to instill in others I encounter everyday, in my job, in my friendships, in my family, in every person I meet: You are loved. You are beautiful. And, you are most certainly not alone. Shine on, friends, in whatever way you shine. I can see your light.

Click for the 2015 Trevor Youth Advisory Council Application


Teen Nick Award-Winner Grants $5,000 to Trevor

Zachary Mallory, an 18-year-old gay teen from Kansas City, just gave $5,000 to The Trevor Project after being honored as a TeenNick HALO Effect’s October 2014 award recipient. We are so touched and grateful for this unexpected gift, and are inspired by Zachary’s commitment to helping LGBTQ youth in crisis.

 

“I gave my support to The Trevor Project because they have helped me and thousands of others create a better life for ourselves,” said Zachary. “With Trevor’s trained counselors and the amazing volunteer opportunities, it’s an endless journey in making a better and safer, more inclusive community. When I heard from Nickelodeon about the grant, my immediate thought, without hesitation, was The Trevor Project.”

The HALO Effect – which stands for Help And Lead Others – is a Nickelodeon initiative that works to inspire young people to create meaningful change in their communities. Zachary was selected because of his brave work as an LGBT-rights advocate and peer mentor.

In his hometown, Zachary created a welcoming place for LGBTQ youth by founding a Gay-Straight Alliance, he also participated in GLSEN’s rally in Washington D.C. to promote safer schools. As a Youth Outreach Intern for PerformOUTKC, the only LGBTQIA performing arts group in Kansas City, he continues his work to help support the youth in his community.

Thank you again, Zachary! We are so proud to have your support!

To make a donation to The Trevor Project, visit Trvr.org/Donate.


TrevorLIVE: An Inspirational Evening

On June 16, TrevorLIVE New York honored three visionaries who have made a difference in the LGBT community. Arianna Huffington was presented with the Trevor Hero Award, presented by Neil Patrick Harris. The Chief Information Officer and partner at Goldman Sachs, Marty Chavez, accepted the Trevor 20/20 Visionary Award on behalf of Goldman Sachs, which was presented by designer, Zac Posen. The Trevor Youth Innovator Award presented by Wells Fargo honored YouTube sensation Tyler Oakley. The fantastic show, directed by Adam Shankman, was hosted by Wanda Sykes at the Marriott Marquis.

Arianna Huffington accepts
the Trevor Hero Award.

“This movement has the wind at its back because our times are calling for all of us — whether LGBTQ or straight — to live our lives authentically, to be true to ourselves, to stop hiding, pretending or living in the shadows, and instead tap into the amazing possibilities that each one of us embodies in all of our uniqueness,” said Huffington when she accepted the Trevor Hero Award.

Tona Brown, the first African American transgender person to play at Carnegie Hall, wowed the audience with a performance from her new album, “This Is Who I Am.” Cheyenne Jackson, accompanied by The Broadway Inspirational Voices, energized the room with his powerful cover of “Somebody to Love,” by Queen. The show also included performances by Rob Thomas, Caissie Levy, Jeremy Jordan, and Montego Glover. Celebrity guests included Zachary Quinto, Lucy Liu, Jane Lynch, Ellen Page, David Burtka, Frank De Julio, Rachael Harris and more.

Violin LiveTona Brown performs at TrevorLIVE.

The Trevor Project gives special thanks to our presenting sponsor, Wells Fargo, as well as to TrevorLIVE Event Chairs James Adams of Schreck, Rose, Dapello & Adams, and Beth Brooke of Ernst & Young.

Honorary Co-Chairs were Jesse Tyler Ferguson & Justin Nikita, Neil Patrick Harris & David Burtka, and Zachary Quinto. Event Vice-Chairs are Phil Armstrong, Brian Dorsey, Ralph Furlo, Matt Schwartz, David Suk, and Keola Whittaker.

To read more about the event, please visit: www.TheTrevorProject.org/TrevorLIVENY


Care with Pride™ and Support Trevor

During Pride season, supporting The Trevor Project is as easy as re-stocking your healthcare and personal care essentials! The Care with Pride™ initiative from the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies is giving you the chance to redeem specially marked coupons online that will donate $1 to our life-saving work.

The Care with Pride™ campaign, created by the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, connects The Trevor Project, PFLAG, and the Family Equality Council in a unique partnership that focuses on cultivating respect and equality for the LGBT community. In addition, the campaign raises awareness about the health and wellbeing of all youth, and inspires people to “pay it forward” by donating to make a difference.

We are so proud to be a part of this national partnership, alongside these two LGBTQ nonprofit leaders. Visit carewithpride.com to learn more about Care with Pride™, redeem coupons that offer $55 in savings, and give your support!