Statement from Abbe Land: South Dakota Governor Vetoes Anti-Trans Student Bathroom Bill

FILE – In this Jan. 12, 2016 file photo, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard delivers his during his annual state of the state address at the state Capitol in Pierre. Daugaard faces a deadline Tuesday, March 1, 2016, to make a decision about a bill that would require transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their sex at birth. Daugaard hasn’t said what he plans to do with the proposal. If he signs the legislation or allows it to take effect without his signature, South Dakota would become the first state in the nation with such a law. (AP Photo/James Nord, File)

As one of the leaders in advocacy and policy change for LGBTQ youth, The Trevor Project applauds Governor Dennis Dauggard for vetoing HB 1008, a bill that would have banned transgender students from safely accessing bathrooms in their schools.

With nearly half of young transgender people who have seriously thought about taking their lives, and one quarter who have reported having made a suicide attempt [4], Governor Dauggard’s vetoing of this bill is just one step towards ensuring the mental health and well-being of transgender youth in school environments.

While South Dakota has made progress by vetoing HB 1008, there are similar anti-trans bills across Wisconsin, Kentucky, Mississippi, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. At The Trevor Project, we are advocating to require LGBTQ suicide prevention training of all school personnel through our Model School District Policy, which includes recognizing the genders of transgender youth, both through LGBTQ education and affirmative spaces, such as bathrooms. With your support of this policy, we can ensure that youth have brighter educations, regardless of gender or sexuality.

To join us in inspiring change across the U.S., learn about how to take action on our Advocacy Page. Thank you for helping save young lives by joining us in our advocacy efforts.


Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO, The Trevor Project


[4] Grossman, A.H. & D’Augelli, A.R. (2007). Transgender Youth and Life-Threatening Behaviors. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behaviors. 37(5), 527-37.

Photo via AP/James Nord

The Lifeguard Workshop: Trevor’s New Online Education Resource

At The Trevor Project, we know one supportive person can make a difference in an LGBTQ young person’s life. We also know that it can sometimes be difficult to have conversations about mental health, suicide prevention, and LGBTQ identity in the classroom. That’s why we are launching a new online educational resource—The Lifeguard Workshop—to help teachers, mental health professionals, social workers, administrators, PTAs, GSAs, and faith groups share lifesaving programs with youth in their communities. With this resource, we are showing youth they are not alone and it is brave to ask for help.

We have heard so many stories about teachers and counselors who have made young people feel safe and accepted.  For example, one 15-year-old trans person in California told us:

“My Spanish teacher had a little sticker on her desk that said that her classroom was a safe space for LGBT students. I decided that I would come out to her because I really wanted to have someone to talk to about school and being trans. She supported me and told me that she was happy for me…She automatically changed pronouns for me in class, and she was always available for me to talk.”

Based on The Trevor Project’s in-person workshop, which is listed in the SPRC/AFSP Best Practice Registry for Suicide Prevention, we’ve designed The Lifeguard Workshop to include a video, Safer Spaces Guide, and empathy building lessons for middle school and high school aged youth. The Lifeguard Workshop teaches youth how to identify the challenges faced by LGBTQ people, recognize the warning signs of suicide, and respond to someone who may be in crisis. also provides information on The Trevor Project’s crisis intervention services, like our 24/7 Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, TrevorChat and TrevorText, and our online community,

To celebrate the launch of The Lifeguard Workshop, we’ve designed a classroom poster and other educational resources you can order here. Since these are new resources, please take a moment to provide us with your feedback by completing a Teacher Survey after using them in your classroom.  And, if you’d like to bring The Trevor Project’s staff to your school district, you can sign up for Care and Ally Training.

We launched our resources at Human Rights Campaign’s Time to Thrive Conference in February, where we joined 45 national organizations dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ young people and presented workshops on how to educate young people and youth-serving professionals on LGTBQ-competent suicide prevention, risk detection, and response. Transgender activist and children’s book author Jazz Jennings joined in supporting our efforts, with a shout-out on Twitter to her over 43.7K followers.

From March 9-12, Trevor will be at the American Association of Social Workers Conference in Baltimore, and from March 18-20, we will be in North Carolina at the LGBT in the South Conference to present The Lifeguard Workshop live, joining educators and youth-serving professionals to build awareness and cultural competency, learn current and emerging best practices, and gather resources from leading experts in the field. And, in the summer, watch out for our Summer Reading List on our Pinterest page to further your support of LGBTQ youth when the school season ends.

To help make it easier for schools to prevent, assess, intervene in, and respond to suicidal behavior, The Trevor Project has also collaborated to create a Model School District Policy for Suicide Prevention. This modular, adaptable document will help educators and school administrators implement comprehensive suicide prevention policies in communities nationwide. The fact sheet and full policy can be downloaded here.

Youth-serving professionals can also join our Senior Education Manager, Danielle Orner, for a monthly informational webinar which will explore how to facilitate a Lifeguard Workshop, address tough questions, and make classrooms safer spaces. For more information, you can contact her at [email protected]

With education, we can help prevent suicide. Thank you to the educators and leaders who are sharing lifesaving resources with youth in their communities. You are making a difference!

Photo one features Executive Director and CEO Abbe Land, along with our Senior Education Manager, Danielle Orner, and Vice President of Programs, David Bond, holding our new educational posters.  Photo two features TrevorLIVE Youth Innovator, trans activist, and children’s book author Jazz Jennings.

Trevor Helps Introduce the D.C. Youth Suicide Prevention & School Climate Survey Act

According to the Centers for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey in 2012, nearly 15% of the District of Columbia’s students ages 11-17 had contemplated suicide at some point, with statistics more than doubling for the LGBTQ population, ages 11-13.

In an effort to reduce these alarming numbers, D.C. Council Member David Grosso worked with The Trevor Project, The D.C. Center, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and others on the Youth Suicide Prevention & School Climate Survey Act, which was introduced in the fall of 2015.  Requiring suicide prevention training of all school personnel in D.C., this is the first bill in the nation to specifically require education about LGBTQ youth as a group with a higher risk of suicide. The Youth Suicide Prevention & School Climate Survey Act will require that information about the LGBTQ population be provided to all school employees, with an update in curriculum every five years to ensure the latest research is being incorporated.

With training, teachers and administrators can better identify youth who may be at-risk for suicidal ideation and refer those students to mental health professionals.  In an effort to improve student performance and attendance in the classroom, school personnel will be also be able to identify factors in the school environment that may contribute to youth stressors, such as the lack of safe spaces and gender neutral bathrooms, interpersonal relationships, social interactions, and organizational processes.

Through early intervention, the D.C. Youth Suicide Prevention & Climate Survey Act is a long-term investment in young people’s futures. Co-sponsored by twelve out of thirteen council members, the bill has overwhelming support and will soon go to the full council for final votes. Ultimately, by enacting this bill, we believe it will become the model legislative statute for other states to adopt, which will help stop suicide and specifically protect LGBTQ youth.

Council Member Grosso says, “It has been an honor to work with the Trevor Project and other advocate organizations on drafting and passing the Youth Suicide Prevention and School Climate Survey Act of 2015. Throughout the legislative process, The Trevor Project was a strong partner and consistent advocate for the best mental health services and policies to put our students in the best position to learn and succeed. I thank them for their partnership and look forward to working with them on future projects.”

To join us in inspiring change across the U.S., learn about how to take action on our Advocacy Page. Thank you for helping save young lives by joining us in our advocacy efforts.

Help Pass The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act

When Oregon Senator Gordon H. Smith’s son died by suicide, his mission was to raise awareness about suicide prevention in colleges. Through the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act (GLSMA), signed by President George W. Bush in 2004, $82 million was authorized to provide suicide prevention and crisis intervention programs across the nation. For over a decade, funds have been used to support the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy Grants to States and Tribes, campus-based grants for college students, and mental health and substance use disorder services. At The Trevor Project, we recognize that this act has been crucial to the health of youth in the LGBTQ community.

Now, Congress is back in session and it’s time to make sure that the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act is passed so that vital funding for suicide prevention and intervention services remains available.  Besides being its own standalone bill, all provisions of GLSMA are included in several bills currently in Congress, including the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act and the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act. The time is ripe for mental health reform in Washington, and Trevor supports the passage of any of these bills as long as the GLSMA provisions are contained and fully funded so that youth who may be thinking of suicide have the support and resources needed to maintain their mental health.

More than 90 percent of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder. Four out of five young people with a diagnosable mental health condition do not receive treatment. LGB youth are four times more likely and questioning youth are three times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, while nearly half of transgender youth have seriously considered attempting suicide. We can do better for young people who should be receiving treatment, but are not being diagnosed, do not have access to mental health professionals, or who face stigma and shame that keep their mental health challenges from being addressed.

Help save young lives by taking action to reform the mental health system and ensure Congress takes into account the needs of LGBTQ youth. Email your representatives today and ask them to include the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act provisions in mental health reform efforts. Together, let’s prevent suicide through education and awareness.

Photo courtesy of The White House

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 1-866-488-7386,, and 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

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

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 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.