The Trevor Project
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|Founded||March 25, 1998|
|Legal status||501(c)(3) nonprofit organization|
|Focus||Crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth|
|Headquarters||West Hollywood, California|
|Method||Saves young lives through its free and confidential Lifeline, in-school workshops, educational materials, online resources, and advocacy.|
The Trevor Project is an American nonprofit organization founded in 1998 focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Through a toll-free telephone number, it operates The Trevor Lifeline, a confidential service that offers trained counselors. The stated goals of the project are to provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25, as well as to offer guidance and resources to parents and educators in order to foster safe, accepting, and inclusive environments for all youth, at home and at school.
The Trevor Project is committed to producing research that brings new knowledge and clinical implications to the field of suicidology. The organization looks to fulfill their mission through four strategies: provide crisis counseling to LGBTQ+ young people thinking of suicide, offer supportive counseling and a sense of community to young LGBTQ+ people in order to reduce suicide, educate young people and adults who interact with young people on LGBTQ+ competent suicide prevention, and advocate for laws and policies that will reduce suicide among LGBTQ+ youth.
The project was founded in 1998 in West Hollywood, California, by James Lecesne, Peggy Rajski, and Randy Stone. They are the creators of the 1994 Academy Award–winning short film Trevor, a dramedy about Trevor, a gay thirteen-year-old boy who, when rejected by friends because of his sexuality, makes an attempt to take his life. When the film was scheduled to air on HBO television in 1998, the filmmakers realized that some of the program's young viewers might be facing the same kind of crisis as Trevor, and began to search for a support line to be broadcast during the airing. They discovered that no such helpline existed, and decided to dedicate themselves to forming what was, in their view, a much-needed resource: an organization to promote acceptance of LGBTQ youth, and to aid in crisis and suicide prevention among that group.
The Trevor Lifeline was established with seed funds provided by The Colin Higgins Foundation and HBO's license fee. As a result, it became the first nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for LGBTQ youth. The project also provides online support to young people through the project's website, as well as guidance and resources to educators and parents.
In November 2009, the project was contracted by the Tulare County Suicide Prevention Task Force, located in Tulare County, California. With this agreement, the project received public funds for the first time. In June 2009, seven Tulare County volunteers completed The Trevor Project Lifeguard Workshop Facilitator training. Lifeguard workshops have been done in schools in Tulare County municipalities, including Dinuba, Lindsay, Porterville and Visalia, as well as in Hanford in adjacent Kings County.
The Trevor Helpline has received hundreds of thousands of calls from LGBTQ+ youth across the country. The Trevor Project is also empowering people to take action when it comes to fighting for the LGBTQ+ youth. Michaela Mendelssohn is a prime example of someone who has been impacted by the Trevor Project. Michaela is known as the first transgender contestant in the Ms. Senior California Pageant. She was also a consultant to the character development of Sophia Burset from Orange Is the New Black. Michaela Mendelssohn was recently appointed as a new board member of the Trevor Project. Her role is to provide strategic direction and ensure the organization has the resources to fulfill its mission. She also uses her expertise in advocacy for LGBTQ+ issues to serve as an Ambassador for the organization. Actor Daniel Radcliffe has also been identified as a contributor to the project. He plays a role in helping provide the financial leadership that makes the organization's lifesaving work possible.
The Trevor Project has been supported by various celebrities, including Melanie Martinez, Ellen DeGeneres, Troye Sivan, Kathy Griffin, Shay Mitchell, Daniel Radcliffe, Neil Patrick Harris, James Marsden, Chris Colfer, Kim Kardashian, Darren Criss, Dianna Agron, George Takei, Anderson Cooper, John Oliver and Tyler Oakley.
The short film, Trevor, is a based on a 13-year-old quirky, outgoing gay boy named Trevor. Trevor is your average 70's high schooler in Bible Belt, USA: He listens to records, hangs out with his friends, and goes to the movies. But one day things change: He hits puberty, and everything seems different. He doesn't want to make out with the girls at a party. He starts to pay more attention to the other boys in his class. He starts to realize that people make fun of him for his love of ballet and theatre and Diana Ross. Eventually, Trevor comes to the realization that he's gay. Now, his friends don't want to be seen anywhere around him, his parents ignore him, his priest accuses him of being a pervert, and his best friend Pinky tells him that he's a weak person. "Everybody at school thinks I'm a gay. It must be showing.", he says in the scene prior to his overdose. With no one offering any support, Trevor decides to kill himself. But help comes in an unexpected form. Trevor was unsuccessful in his suicide attempt and ends up making a new trustworthy nurse friend. Trevor is a film that highlights the importance of acceptance, forgiveness and how destructive internalized homophobia can be.
The Trevor Lifeline
The Trevor Lifeline is the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for LGBTQ youth in the United States. The lifeline is a free and confidential service from counselors trained to listen without judging, and can refer callers to supportive local organizations and groups; this information is also available on the project's website.
On August 10, 2009, the project announced that it received a major cash donation to support the lifeline from actor Daniel Radcliffe, star of the Harry Potter film series. Radcliffe said in a statement:
I am very pleased to begin my support of the Trevor Project, which saves lives every day through its critical work. It's extremely distressing to consider that in 2009 suicide is a top-three killer of young people, and it's truly devastating to learn that LGBTQ youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.
TrevorText is a confidential text messaging service provided by The Trevor Project 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
TrevorChat is a free, confidential, live and secure online messaging service provided by The Trevor Project 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
TrevorSpace is an online social networking community for LGBTQ+ youth ages 13 through 24, along with their friends and allies. Youth can create personal profiles, which are verified by the administrators before they are allowed to interact with other profiles, and connect with other young people internationally, as well as find resources within their communities. TrevorSpace is commonly used to receive or give advice and make friends who have shared similar experiences as the user. TrevorSpace is carefully monitored by administrators designated by the project to ensure all content is age-appropriate, youth-friendly and factual. Members over the age of 18 cannot privately message members under the age of 18. TrevorSpace links members to The Trevor Project's home page, where information about The Trevor Lifeline, "Dear Trevor," and other resources is available. The software used to create TrevorSpace was donated to the project by Tim Gill, an American software entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Palette Fund Internship Program
Through the Palette Fund Internship Program, the project provides for five internships in both its Los Angeles and New York City offices. Interns are placed among the program, communication, and development departments. The program provides an opportunity for young people to learn about working in the non-profit sector. Palette Fund internships are specifically designed to introduce young leaders to the LGBTQ movement.
Youth Advisory Council
The Youth Advisory Council serves as a liaison between youth nationwide and the project on issues surrounding suicide, sexuality and gender identity. The council submits recommendations to the project in an effort to increase project visibility and best serve the LGBTQ youth population.
The project's Lifeguard Workshop Program uses a structured, age-appropriate curriculum to address topics around sexuality, gender identity, the impacts of language and behavior, and what it means for young people to feel different. The program also teaches young people to recognize depression and suicide amongst their peers, the impacts of language and behavior on LGBTQ youth, and suicide prevention skills in schools.
Fundraisers and annual awards ceremonies
Tyler Oakley's fundraiser
On February 10, 2014, YouTube personality Tyler Oakley started a fundraiser to collect $150,000 for the Trevor Project. Oakley set the deadline for the money to be collected by the time of his birthday, March 22, but the goal was reached after only six days. Oakley later extended the fundraiser and more than $462,000 had been raised as of March 29. On March 31, the fundraiser ended, with a total of $525,754 raised.
Annual Award Ceremony Fundraisers
The Trevor Project uses annual events to honor individuals and businesses that have been leaders in supporting LGBT rights and advocated against bullying and hate crimes. In 1998, it held the first Cracked Xmas fundraiser in Los Angeles, changing its name to TrevorLIVE Los Angeles in 2010. In 2001, a New York City-based annual event was added, using entertainers to raise financial resources for the organization. This NYC-based event has had three names, beginning as "A Very Funny Whatever", changing to TrevorNY in 2007 and then to TrevorLIVE New York in 2011. In the 2018 financial year (August 2017-July 2018), these special events raised over $3,030,000.
The New York City event is typically held in June each year, and the Los Angeles event is typically held in late November or early December each year.
A variety of awards have been given over time and not all awards are given each year.
List of Ceremonies
|December 2002||Cracked Xmas 5|
|December 2003||Cracked Xmas 6|
|December 2004||Cracked Xmas 7|
|May 20, 2005||A Totally Funny Whatever 5 |
|December 2005||Cracked Xmas 8|
|June 22, 2006||A Totally Funny Whatever 6|
|December 3, 2006||Cracked Xmas 9|
|June 25, 2007||TrevorNY|
|December 2007||Cracked Xmas 10|
|December 7, 2008||Cracked Xmas 11|
|June 29, 2009||TrevorNY|
|December 6, 2009||Cracked Xmas 12|
|June 28, 2010||TrevorNY|
|December 2010||TrevorLIVE Los Angeles|
|June 27, 2011||TrevorLIVE New York|
|December 4, 2011||TrevorLive Los Angeles|
|June 25, 2012||TrevorLIVE New York|
|December 2, 2012||TrevorLIVE Los Angeles|
|June 17, 2013||TrevorLIVE New York|
|December 8, 2013||TrevorLIVE Los Angeles|
|June 16, 2014||TrevorLIVE New York|
|December 7, 2014||TrevorLIVE Los Angeles|
|June 2015||TrevorLIVE New York|
|December 6, 2015||TrevorLIVE Los Angeles|
|June 13, 2016||TrevorLIVE New York|
|December 5, 2016||TrevorLIVE Los Angeles|
|June 2017||TrevorLIVE New York|
|December 2017||TrevorLIVE Los Angeles|
|June 2018||TrevorLIVE New York|
|December 2018||TrevorLIVE Los Angeles|
|June 2019||TrevorLIVE New York|
|November 17, 2019||TrevorLIVE Los Angeles|
Trevor Hero Award
This award honors an individual who, through his or her example, support, volunteerism or occupation, is an inspiration to gay and questioning youth.
- 2005: Tony Kushner
- 2006: Michael Cunningham
- 2007: Nathan Lane
- 2008: Alan Cumming
- 2009: Dustin Lance Black
- 2010: Vanessa Williams
- 2011: Daniel Radcliffe and Lady Gaga
- 2012: Susan Sarandon and Katy Perry
- 2013: Cindy McCain and Jane Lynch
- 2014: Arianna Huffington and Robert Greenblatt
- 2015: Ian McKellen and Michael Lombardi
- 2016: Jordan Roth, Ritchie Jackson and Kelly Osbourne
- 2017: Dan Reynolds and Tom Ford
- 2018: Lena Waithe, Greg Berlanti, Ryan Murphy and the cast of Pose
- 2019: Cara Delevingne
Trevor Youth Innovator Award
Awarded to LGBTQ or straight cisgender people under the age of 25 who work to support, inspire, and empower LGBTQ youth.
- 2013: Cason Crane and Adam White
- 2014: Tyler Oakley and Skylar Kergil
- 2015: Ryan Fecteau and Jazz Jennings
- 2016: Cole Ray Davis and Ingrid Nilsen
- 2018: Amandla Stenberg
- 2019: Hayley Kiyoko
Trevor Commitment Award & Trevor 20/20 Visionary Award
Awarded to businesses that support LGBT rights, started in 2007.
- 2007: Bravo
- 2008: TeenNick
- 2009: CNN
- 2010: Macy's
- 2011: Google
- 2012: MTV and Audi of America
- 2013: Wells Fargo and Toyota
- 2014: Goldman Sachs and Yahoo!
- 2015: Johnson & Johnson and The Walt Disney Corporation
- 2016: Twitter and Facebook
- 2017: Deloitte
- 2018: McKinsey & Company and AT&T Mobility and Communications
- 2019: Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers
Trevor Life Award
The Trevor Life Award honors a person who is an inspiration to LGBTQ youth.
- 2002: Armistead Maupin
- 2003: Rosie O'Donnell
- 2004: Debra Messing and Megan Mullally
- 2005: Marc Cherry
- 2006: Roseanne Barr
- 2007: Ellen DeGeneres
- 2008: Sigourney Weaver
- 2009: Neil Patrick Harris
- 2010: Kathy Griffin
Trevor Hope Award
The Trevor Hope Award is presented to businesses that have demonstrated support for the LGBTQ community and "has increased the visibility and understanding of LGBT issues." It was first presented in 2004.
- 2004: Wells Fargo
- 2005: LPI Media
- 2006: HBO
- 2007: Clear Channel Communications
- 2008: Lifetime
- 2009: AT&T
- 2010: Levi Strauss & Co.
The Trevor Champions Award is presented to individuals in recognition of their "continued allyship and commitment to supporting The Trevor Project’s mission to end suicide among LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning) young people".
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...the nation's first toll-free 24-hour suicide prevention hot line for gay and questioning youth.
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- on YouTube
- [clarification needed] Estrada, Nora Alicia (December 7, 2010). "Dicen no al suicidio". Mural (in Spanish). Guadalajara, Mexico. p. 2.
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- on YouTube
- "Anderson Cooper, Dr. Oz to compete on 'Jeopardy' Power Players Week".
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