The Trevor Project Reviews California Schools’ Suicide Prevention Policies

The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, released a report about California Department of Education schools’ compliance with AB 2246, which requires schools serving grades 7–12 to establish student suicide prevention policies.

The organization contacted all 478 school districts and local education agencies in California which serve youth in grades 7–12. After multiple attempts at contact, 86% of the school districts were found to have a student suicide prevention policy. 70% of the school districts without a suicide prevention policy were rural, defined as more than 40 miles from a major city; and 80% of school districts without a suicide prevention policy were smaller than average.

School policies are an important part of suicide prevention, especially because of the amount of time young people spend at school. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, and nearly half of all trans people have made a suicide attempt. 1/3 of all lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are bullied at school, and almost half of them seriously consider attempting suicide, almost 4 times more likely than their straight peers.

Read the full report.


Letter from Interim Executive Director Steve Mendelsohn

Dear Friends,

March is an exciting month for the LGBTQ+ community and The Trevor Project, as we take time to celebrate a range of important events that raise awareness for identities and issues within our diverse community.  During this period of uncertainty and stress, it’s even more important for us to take time to recognize the health issues facing our community, and to take action to heal them.

March is Bisexual Health Awareness Month, and this year The Bisexual Resource Center announced that the month’s focus will be identifying social health disparities within the bisexual community while taking steps to build social support and resiliency. “Now more than ever, communities need to come together to offer support, stand up to injustice, and plan our continued efforts to survive and thrive,” said BRC Co-Presidents Heather Benjamin and Kate Estrop in a joint statement.  We encourage young people who are bisexual, pansexual, queer, questioning, or simply curious to check out our Support Center with resources on bisexuality.

We kicked off March a bit early from February 26th to March 4th by recognizing National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. LGBTQ-identified people are disproportionately impacted by eating disorders, as they experience unique stressors that can be contributing factors in the development of an eating disorder, such as coming out and harassment in schools or the workplace.  Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse — all of which are common co-occurring conditions — can all compound this issue.  To raise awareness, we co-hosted two Twitter chats using the hashtag #NEDAwareness to talk about this issue.  We encourage all young people to reach out to NEDA to find resources and support.

March also marks Women’s History Month.  Our social media channels will be featuring LGBTQ women who have made a huge impact throughout the month.  Also, check out some of our Trevor Project staff wearing red in solidarity with the #DayWithoutAWoman strike.

Trevor is also continuously monitoring issues that affect our LGBTQ young people and we’re working in coalition with our colleague organizations to respond to issues that arise on the federal, state and local levels.  We update our blog on a regular basis with statements and letters we’ve submitted via the many coalitions we are a part of.

We wrap up March by celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) on March 31st, a day to show your support for the trans community.  Unlike Transgender Day of Remembrance in November which is primarily a day of mourning, TDOV is a day of empowerment to celebrate and recognize the amazing trans community.  In the face of the Title IX Guidance Withdrawal and the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Gavin Grimm case, it’s even more important for us to show up as visible allies in solidarity with trans folks around the country.  Join in with the hashtag #TDOR as we celebrate!

However you identify, we encourage all young people who are struggling to reach out to talk to us 24/7/365 at: 1-866-488-7386 or contact us via text or chat.  We hear you and we are here to support you no matter what.

Steve Mendelsohn
Interim Executive Director, The Trevor Project


Trace Lysette Has a Message for Trans* and Gender Non-Conforming Youth: You Matter

The Trevor Project celebrates Transgender Awareness Month for the entirety of November.  November 20th marked Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day in which we remembered those who have lost their lives.  To honor the resilience of our community, we released two special PSAs from Trace Lysette of Transparent.

Remember that no matter what your gender identity, The Trevor Project is here to support you. If you are curious about your own gender identity, or want to understand how to better support transgender and gender non-conforming folks in your community, take a look in our Support Center for information on gender identity. 

If you’re looking to take action, you can make a difference by donating, holding  a fundraiser for #GivingTuesday, volunteering, or becoming an Ambassador.

If you or someone you know needs help, know that we are here for you 24/7, every day of the year, at 1-866-488-7386, with more digital services available as well.  We are here to champion and support all LGBTQ youth, no matter what your identity.  Know that you are valid, and you matter.


The Trevor Project Celebrates Transgender Awareness Month

In a climate of fear, one of the most empowering things we can do is to educate.  Change and the unknown are scary, and fearful reactions can be negative, such as controlling or abusive behavior on a small scale, or hatred and bigotry on a mass scale.  Yet with awareness and education, change and the unknown can become opportunities for growth.  It is in this spirit that The Trevor Project celebrates Transgender Awareness Week, from November 14th to the 20th, and Transgender Awareness Month for the entirety of November.

During difficult times, we recognize our power and the power of our supporters to be an agents of change, transforming fear and bigotry into understanding and acceptance.  Our trailblazing Youth Advisory Council has included Eli Erlick who currently is the Director of Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER), the only national organization entirely led by trans youth. This Transgender Awareness Week they launched a Comprehensive Model Policy on Transgender Students for Four-Year Colleges and Universities. This policy addresses the best practices for four-year colleges and universities regarding enrollment, policy implementation, admissions, programs, facilities, safety, and more.

It is a critical time to take action at the local level, and this model policy helps to provide effective guidelines to creating a safer, healthier environment for transgender college and university students everywhere.  Use TSER’s model policy to educate and change policies within your own schools and communities.  Download and share these free posters and graphics to help raise understanding and compassion during Transgender Awareness Month.

November 20th marks Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day in which we honor those who have lost their lives. On Transgender Day of Remembrance, help build resilience with the community by joining our staff at the events below or visit this link of events compiled by TDOR.info. This is not a full list, so please check your area to find an event near you. To submit your own event, visit this link.  By coming together during this time, we can remind each other of the beauty and power within our community.

Remember that no matter what your gender identity, The Trevor Project is here to support you. If you are curious about your own gender identity, or want to understand how to better support transgender and gender non-conforming folks in your community, take a look in our Support Center for information on gender identity. 

If you’re looking to take action, you can make a difference by donating, running a fundraiser for #GivingTuesday, volunteering, or becoming an Ambassador. If you or someone you know needs help, know that we are here for you 24/7, every day of the year, at 1-866-488-7386, with more digital services available as well.  We are here to champion and support all LGBTQ youth, no matter what your identity.  Know that you are valid, and you matter.


Alarming Rise in Death by Suicide Among 10-14 Year Old Youth

Data released in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Report shows that the rate of death by suicide among adolescents, 10 – 14 years old, has been on the rise and is now higher than that of death by motor vehicles.  In 2009 approximately 1 youth per 100,000 died by suicide, compared to 2014 when approximately 2 youth per 100,000 took their own lives.

At the Trevor Project, the nation’s only accredited suicide prevention program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth under 25, we hear from youth every day about the struggles they are facing.  According to the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) report, we know that LGB young people in 9th to 12th grade attempt suicide at a rate more than four times that of their heterosexual peers.  While reliable national statistics for LGB youth in the 10 – 14 year old range do not exist, we know from the daily crisis calls, chats, and texts we receive that they too are at risk for suicidal ideation, particularly during this critical time in their identity development.

Of note, the rate of death by motor vehicles has dropped significantly over the same period that the rate of death by suicide has increased, among 10 – 14 year olds. The success in combatting motor vehicle deaths is attributable to a comprehensive approach including infrastructure improvements, policy and system change, partnerships, education and awareness, along with a major investment of over $576 million by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration funded in grants to promote motor vehicle safety and the U.S. If similar comprehensive, multifaceted national suicide prevention efforts were implemented and brought to scale, as outlined in the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, this country would have the potential to reverse the trend in suicide mortality.

“At The Trevor Project we are very disturbed to know that suicide is rising among the youth of this nation.  We receive calls from youth as young as 9 years old who are looking for support as they struggle with their sexual and gender identity,” said Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project.  “It is imperative that more resources need to go toward preventing suicide in this country.  It is unconscionable that significant dollars are not allocated when we know that suicide can be prevented.  We call upon our national, state and local leaders to take action immediately.”

While incredibly informative about prevalence, the report does not include information on the causes of these trends.  There are certainly many contributing factors to consider, but is it also very important to note what can be done to foster resilience and safety for LGBTQ and other youth.  Families, schools, and communities must come together to reduce the risk for youth suicide by creating safe, connected environments that foster resiliency, non-violent problem solving skills, and coping skills.  In particular, the public can take part in improving the lives of young people who report being LGBTQ by showing them that we all care about their mental health:

  • Connect youth to Trevor’s crisis services.  We save young lives 24/7 through the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386.  TrevorChat.org is available 3-9 pm Eastern Time daily, and youth can text TrevorText by sending the message START to 678678 Thursday – Friday 4-8pm Eastern Time. Young people can also find friends on our online safe supportive community TrevorSpace.org as well as resources at our Support Center.
  • Create classrooms of peers who are better equipped to help through acceptance and support with Lifeguard, Trevor’s free online suicide prevention and crisis intervention education program for middle and high school students.
  • Advocate for the adoption of comprehensive, inclusive suicide prevention policies in school districts around the country and encourage the use of our Model School Policy which can help school districts draft suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention policies based on their specific needs.

Help create a bright future for LGBTQ and all youth by showing that you truly care and that they can thrive, they matter, and they deserve support.  More resources are available at www.thetrevorproject.org.  The Trevor Project is a partner of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, the public-private partnership advancing the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and championing suicide prevention as a national priority.


LGBTQ History Month

For LGBTQ History Month, The Trevor Project is highlighting a few key civil rights activists who helped to pave the way for a more inclusive society.  This list is by no means exhaustive, but should pique your interest in the incredibly diverse community that founded the gay rights movement.  While not all these activists are highlighted in textbooks yet, we’re excited to see states like California adopting an LGBT history curriculum, and look forward to many more to come.  Until then, if you’re looking for role models, keep in mind the tagline that this movement gave us: “We’re Everywhere!”


“I’m living the way Sylvia wants to live. I’m not living in the straight world; I’m not living in the gay world; I’m just living in my own world” –Sylvia Rivera
Sylvia Rivera was a Puerto Rican, bisexual, transwoman who was a veteran of the 1969 Stonewall uprising, founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, the Gay Activists Alliance, and the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, and an outspoken activist who rallied against racism, sexual violence and transphobia.

“When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.” –Bayard Rustin
Bayard Rustin was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights. A master strategist and tireless activist, Bayard Rustin is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States.

“I’m not greedy, I know what I want.” –Brenda Howard
Brenda Howard organized the 1970 Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day Parade on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which gave birth to annual Pride parades and gave her the name the “mother of gay pride.” She also founded the New York Area Bisexual Network and was a tireless advocate for bisexual rights.

“My problem is that I can’t accept life for what it is… like it’s presented to me. I feel that there is something deep and wonderful underneath it that no one has found.” –Lou Sullivan
Lou Sullivan is an American author, activist, and transman known as the founder of FTM International and is largely responsible for the modern understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity as distinct, unrelated concepts.

“Hope will never be silent.” –Harvey Milk
Harvey Bernard Milk was an American politician who became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California.

“Pay it no mind” –Marsha P. Johnson
Marsha P. Johnson was a transgender and gay liberation activist, a veteran of the Stonewall riots, cofounder of the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries with Sylvia Rivera, and an AIDS activist with ACT UP.

Celebrating Pride 2016 with Trevor

Throughout the month of June, from Los Angeles to New York, Trevor celebrated Pride Month across the nation, showing LGBTQ youth that their futures deserved to be supported and validated. We are so grateful to Pride Community and Outreach volunteers who have showed up to our Pride events across the United States to show LGBTQ youth that they matter. A day after the heinous mass shooting that killed 49 LGBTQ folks in Orlando, our Los Angeles staff and volunteers still bravely marched in West Hollywood’s Pride, with The Thunderman’s actress and Kid’s Choice Award Winner Kira Kosarin leading the charge. In the weeks following Orlando, our amazing staff and volunteers were also there to respond to some of our highest volume of calls, chats, and texts this year.

Even in this day and age, we are fighting to celebrate our existence as a strong, resilient LGBTQ community. Yet, we keep pushing to hold safe spaces for our young people.

As we move into July, September, and October, Trevor will continue raising awareness through tabling and proudly marching at events across San Diego, Dallas, Memphis, Castro, Atlanta, and others, working with partners like AT&T, Revlon, Twitter, Johnson & Johnson, and Macy’s.

Twitter, our Trevor 20/20 Visionary Honoree at TrevorLIVE, helped us share support of the LGBTQ community online with their emoji #LoveisLove, then opened their headquarters to our San Francisco community for our #ThisisMe fundraising event. Thanks to sponsor Revlon’s Sinful Colors #PRIDE nailpolish line, Trevor was also able to offer LGBTQ youth a chance to show their pride by expressing themselves through their own self-care, style, and beauty. AT&T’s Live Proud Activation gave LGBTQ youth an opportunity to share their moments of acceptance with the help of Trevor supporter Lisa Vanderpump, as well as explore their Pride Personalities through a live #ATTLiveProud personality quiz across Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Petersberg, San Francisco, and on social media. With Johnson & Johnson, we supported their #LoveHasNoLabels campaign, focusing on educating folks about hidden biases against the LGBTQ community.

We want to thank supporter Tyler Oakley for donating a portion of proceeds to Trevor from his LGBTQ album Pride Jams, as well as LA Weekly for featuring us as one of the best organizations to volunteer with. Our supporters, volunteers, donors, and sponsors are all champions for young LGBTQ people’s brighter futures. We hope you join us at Pride celebrations across the nation to celebrate the beautiful diversity of our community.


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. TheTrevorProject.org/Lifeguard 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, TrevorSpace.org.

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.


Black History Month

As a son of former slaves, historian and scholar Carter G. Woodson of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History established the second week of February as “Negro History Week” in 1926, coinciding with Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12 and abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ birthday on February 14. The goal of the week was to ensure that the role of African Americans in U.S. history was not misrepresented or erased and that race would be talked about in public schools within the context of the broader society.  Woodson had said, “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition. It becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”

During the Civil Rights Movement, as folks fought for black rights and black history clubs thrived, the week was extended into Black History Month in 1970, with urging from the leaders of the Black United Students at Kent State University. Now, the Month is recognized in the UK and Canada.

At Trevor, we understand that race, sexuality, and gender are interrelated and must be talked about in the context of socioeconomic privilege so that we can move towards creating a brighter future for all youth. To raise awareness about intersectionality, we often share on social media about how privilege can both undermine and uplift folks of varying identities, and that it is our responsibility to listen and affirm queer youth of color whose individual lives have been shaped differently by their experiences. For Black History Month, we will be highlighting the achievements of black LGBTQ folks, recognizing activists and artists who inspire our future young LGBTQ leaders with the hashtags #BlackHistoryMonth and #BlackFutureMonth. Follow along on our InstagramTwitter, and Facebook as we share information and inspiring quotes. And, please remember that we’re here to celebrate every LGBTQ identity every day.