Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.
Each one of us deserves a chance to dream for the future, no matter who we love or how we express our gender. For thousands of young people across this country, whether they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ), they find themselves in situations of isolation, high anxiety and depression with nowhere to turn. They may fear rejection from their families, or have been bullied by their peers; they may have been kicked out of their home or rejected by their religious community, or they suffer from mental illness. For too many young people, the built-in safety nets of love, acceptance and caring do not exist; but for them, there is always “Trevor.”
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people, ages 13-24. Offering lifesaving programs and information, Trevor works every day to help make the future better for all LGBTQ youth.
Since 1998, hundreds of thousands of young people have called the Trevor Lifeline in times of crisis. Many call because they are feeling isolated, anxious or depressed. Many call because they have questions about the feelings they are having toward another person, or have questions about coming out or personal safety. Some young people share that they are considering taking their own lives, and in some cases, have the means and the plan in action. For each of these young people, whatever their crisis might be, there is always a trained and accepting counselor on the Trevor Lifeline who is ready to listen and ready to help, 24/7.
Young people also reach out to Trevor through TrevorChat, the first national, youth-focused instant message counseling service. They connect to each other in a safe and accepting social space through TrevorSpace.org, the largest social network for young LGBTQ people from all over the world. For educators and schools, The Trevor Project also provides suicide prevention and sensitivity trainings to faculty and staff, as well as age-appropriate trainings for middle school, high school and college students. And every day, Trevor connects young people with positive messages through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube.
Because of The Trevor Project’s ongoing leadership in saving lives of LGBTQ youth in crisis, the organization has been selected to help lead the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, co-chairing the LGBT Task Force on Suicide Prevention. Through the National Action Alliance, Trevor is helping to develop protocols to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth on community, state, and national levels. Trevor is also a leading resource for the White House initiative, StopBullying.gov, and on the White House’s “It Gets Better” page. For all its work to create a future where youth can achieve their dreams, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, The Trevor Project has been honored as a Champion of Change.
If you or someone you care about feels depressed or is considering taking their own life, please call The Trevor Lifeline at: 866-488-7386. The call is free and confidential. Visit TheTrevorProject.org to learn more.
David McFarlan is the Interim Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project.