What is the Trevor Project?

Introduction

The Trevor Project is an American non-profit organisation 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 counsellors. The stated goals of the project are to provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for the aforementioned youths (defined by the organisation as 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.

Brief History

The project was founded in 1998 in West Hollywood, California, by Celeste 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 realised that some of the programme’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 the resource: an organisation 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 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. In 2021, the first openly gay active NFL player, Carl Nassib used his coming out to also announce a $100,000 donation to The Trevor Project.

Projects

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 counsellors trained to listen without judging, and can refer callers to supportive local organisations and groups; this information is also available on the project’s website. The number for the line in the United States is 1-866-488-7386.

TrevorText

TrevorText is a confidential text messaging service provided by The Trevor Project 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

TrevorChat

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

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 are available. The software used to create TrevorSpace was donated to the project by Tim Gill, an American software entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Palette Fund Internship Programme

Through the Palette Fund Internship Programme, the project provides for five internships in both its Los Angeles and New York City offices. Interns are placed among the programme, communication, and development departments. The programme 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.

School Workshops

The project’s Lifeguard Workshop Programme uses a structured, age-appropriate curriculum to address topics around sexuality, gender identity, the impacts of language and behaviour, and what it means for young people to feel different. The programme also teaches young people to recognise depression and suicide amongst their peers, the impacts of language and behaviour on LGBTQ youth, and suicide prevention skills in schools.

Fundraisers and Annual Awards Ceremonies

Tyler Oakley’s Fundraiser

On 10 February 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, 22 March, but the goal was reached after only six days. Oakley later extended the fundraiser and more than $462,000 had been raised as of 29 March. On 31 March the fundraiser ended, with a total of $525,754 raised.

Annual Award Ceremony Fundraisers

The Trevor Project uses annual events to honour 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 organisation. 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 to 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.

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