Thursday, July 3, 2008

Trevor Project on CNN

Pat on the back to CNN for featuring this article on The Trevor Project. I have known about The Trevor Project for a few years now and really commend their efforts. It is a relief to know this is available for queer youth - true life savers.

I tried to prevent myself from saying this but what the hell: Keep this article in mind when the Churches and Right-Wingers talk about all the "saving" they do.

The transgendered woman on the other end of the line was threatening to kill herself by jumping off of a parking structure. The Trevor Helpline counselor who answered the phone worked to get the 24-year-old calm and immediately called police for help.

Exactly one month later, that same woman called the helpline back -- to thank them for saving her life.

Stories like these are the reason The Trevor Project operates its helpline, the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention number for gay and questioning youth. More than 500 volunteers are trained for 40 hours to run the bicoastal call centers.

"There's a high level of stress that youth face in the transition from youth to adulthood," Charles Robbins, executive director of The Trevor Project, said. "Add on top of that the challenges of sexual orientation or gender identity and we get 15,000 calls a year."

A 2005 Massachusetts Department of Education survey of 3,500 high school students, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found almost 11 percent have seriously considered suicide. And that percentage is almost four times as high for 10 to 24-year-olds who identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual.

"Because of the unfortunate stigma that still exists in the United States around homosexuality ... youth tend to hold back their feelings, don't disclose, live in denial or shame," Robbins said.

Every year The Trevor Project honors one individual who publicly works to reject that stigma and helps in the group's overall goal: to promote the acceptance of gay and questioning youth in society. This year's honoree, actor Alan Cumming, has been "unapologetic, and true to himself," Robbins said.

Despite the notion that it's seemingly "easier" to come out these days I can tell you that upon realizing that I myself might be gay I definitely entertained and fantasized the idea of ending my life. Realizing same-sex attraction while dealing with the myriad of other teen and high school angst ridden problems isn't an easy thing to handle. I still remember those days and I'm glad they're far behind me.

3 comments:

rptrcub said...

I entertained the same thoughts in the '90s as a teenager being raised in the conservative version of protestant Christianity. I faced up to it, rejected what I was taught and moved on thanks to support from the Internet (in middle Georgia, there were no real resources for gay youth at the time, and Atlanta's YouthPride was too far away for me). I'm glad The Trevor Project is around so that no one has to go through this process alone.

You are a survivor sir, and I tip my hat to you.

Anonymous said...

I think the trevor project is needed but i must report how surprised i was when i offered to volunteer only to have no one even return a call or email. I was shocked. that is tacky to say the least.

Dray said...

Sorry to hear that Anon.

I filled out the volunteer form at The Trevor Project website and got a return email right away. Next I had a in-person interview. And now I will begin the training this month to work on the crisis hot-line.

Don't give up...try again.