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social sciences

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The Trevor Project  
page: 1  2  

The Trevor Project reached teens all over the country in late 2004 when the helpline number and web site address were featured in a seven-second announcement at the end of an episode of the WB network drama series Jack & Bobby in which a gay teen character, unable to come to terms with his sexual orientation, committed suicide. Andy Scheer, the program and special events manager at Trevor, reported that 143 calls came in between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the night that the program aired, compared to "about 10 per month during that timeframe" on average.

Scheer also noted that although suicide prevention is central to the mission of The Trevor Project, "gay and questioning youth don't have to be suicidal to call. We are here for youth in crisis, and that crisis is defined by them, not us."

Sponsor Message.

To meet the needs of glbtq young people not facing immediate danger but rather seeking information about sexual orientation and identity, The Trevor Project created an online question-and-answer forum, Dear Trevor. Since the inception of the service in 2005, hundreds of young people from the United States and abroad have been able to write in anonymously for assistance with their questions and concerns.

The Trevor Project expanded its mission to education in 2004 when it produced The Trevor Survival Kit, which includes a copy of Trevor, a teaching guide for its presentation, cards with the helpline number, and informational posters. Thousands of educators and youth services providers have received this valuable resource free of charge.

Ryan Tarpley, the assistant head of a private school in southern California where the program has been used regularly in a required course, stated, "It's been a safe way to introduce challenging topics such as suicide, stereotyping, sexuality, and gender roles. This gives us the most supportive and structured format to discuss these issues."

In February 2007 Charles Robbins, previously the director of development of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, joined The Trevor Project as executive director. His announced goals include adding to the infrastructure of the helpline operation, increasing funding, and continuing to raise the visibility of the organization.

One of the recent initiatives of The Trevor Project is a "Don't Erase Your Queer Future" advertising campaign launched during National Suicide Prevention Week (September 9-15, 2007). With banner ads on social networking sites as well as a web site of its own,, the campaign presents quotations from prominent glbtq people, then slowly erases the words. Among the individuals represented are Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, Susan B. Anthony, Bayard Rustin, and Josephine Baker. Viewers are asked to consider the artistic, cultural, and social contributions that would have been lost if these people had committed suicide.

Through their suicide-prevention helpline and educational programs, the people of The Trevor Project provide invaluable services not only by helping glbtq youth to survive times of intense despair but also by educating them about their identity, their culture, and their community, and by promoting understanding in the wider society so that the young people may have safer, happier, and more satisfying lives.

Befitting its origins, The Trevor Project has benefited from the support of many in the film community, including actors Alan Cumming, Ellen DeGeneres, and Lily Tomlin. In June 2007, Jodie Foster kicked off a fund-raising campaign by making the largest donation in the organization's history.

Linda Rapp

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social sciences >> Overview:  Adolescence

The ordinary sexual uncertainty and confusion confronted by all adolescents is compounded in glbtq adolescents by fears of being stigmatized and often by internalized homophobia.

social sciences >> Overview:  Aversion Therapy

A form of behavior modification that employs unpleasant and sometimes painful stimuli, aversion therapy was one of the more popular treatments for homosexuality and cross-dressing in the 1950s and 1960s.

social sciences >> Overview:  Counseling

In recent years there has been a push for glbtq-sensitive counselor training and glbtq-affirmative counseling, which, although occurring slowly and encountering resistance, marks a significant move in a positive direction.

arts >> Overview:  Film

Since cinema began, Hollywood has been fascinated with finding ways of representing homosexuality.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is a national organization in the United States dedicated to creating safe school environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gay-Straight Alliances

Gay-straight alliances are youth-led, school- or community-based groups designed to assist glbtq students, children from glbtq families, and heterosexual students who want to be allies of their glbtq peers.

social sciences >> Overview:  Reparative Therapy

Reparative therapy is a dangerously misguided attempt, supported by homophobic religious organizations, to change a person's sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual.

social sciences >> Overview:  Stereotypes

Stereotypes usually include inaccurate and negative assumptions about groups, thus contributing to racism, classism, sexism, and homophobia.

arts >> Allen, Chad

Unlike many child stars, Chad Allen has successfully made the transition to accomplished adult actor; he has also come out as a gay man and become an advocate for glbtq rights.

social sciences >> Anthony, Susan B.

Although best known for her crusade for women's suffrage, Susan B. Anthony spoke out on a range of feminist issues.

arts >> Baker, Josephine

Entertainer Josephine Baker achieved acclaim as the twentieth century's first international black female sex symbol, but kept carefully hidden her many sexual liaisons with women, which continued from adolescence to the end of her life.

arts >> Cumming, Alan

Versatile actor Alan Cumming has performed a wide variety of roles on stage, screen, and television, earning numerous awards for his acting and also for his support of glbtq causes.

arts >> DeGeneres, Ellen

No matter how great her contribution to the world of comedy, Ellen DeGeneres will probably be best remembered as the first lesbian to star as a lesbian on her own network television show.

arts >> Foster, Jodie

One of the most accomplished film actresses of her generation, Jodie Foster has been a glbtq icon for decades, though only recently has she obliquely acknowledged her lesbianism.

arts >> Harris, Neil Patrick

Child actor Neil Patrick Harris has made a successful transition to mature roles, showcasing his singing and dancing abilities along the way; he has also spoken out on behalf of glbtq causes.

arts >> Higgins, Colin 

Australian-American writer, director, and producer Colin Higgins is best known for his screenplay of the cult classic "Harold and Maude" and for directing the more mainstream comedies "Foul Play" and "9 to 5."

social sciences >> National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)

The oldest continuously operating national glbtq interest group, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has played a significant role in the development of the glbtq movement for equal rights.

social sciences >> The Point Foundation

The Point Foundation offers financial support and mentoring to college students who have been marginalized because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

social sciences >> Rustin, Bayard

One of the key African-American civil rights activists of the twentieth century, Bayard Rustin and his legacy have long been obscured because of embarrassment over his homosexuality and early involvement in the Communist Party.

social sciences >> Suicide

In addition to the general risk factors for suicide, such as depression and substance abuse, glbtq people also face stressors such as discrimination and harassment, which put them at an increased risk for suicidal behavior.

arts >> Tomlin, Lily

Less well-known for being herself than for the many memorable personages she "becomes" during her performances, comedienne Lily Tomlin has long been a supporter of gay and lesbian rights, but only recently came out herself.

arts >> Weir, Johnny

Flamboyant figure skater Johnny Weir won three United States Championships and twice represented his country as an Olympian; although there had been widespread speculation that he was gay for several years, he did not come out publicly until 2011.

literature >> Whitman, Walt

Celebrating an ideal of manly love in both its spiritual and physical aspects, Walt Whitman has exerted a profound and enduring influence on gay literature.

literature >> Wilde, Oscar

Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.


Baldman, Anthony. "'Olè Trevor' Raises Money for Suicide Prevention." Gay & Lesbian Times 917 (July 21, 2005):

Rosen, Steven. "Gay Boy's Dilemma Heart-rending." Denver Post (July 4, 1997): F3.

Star, Leticia L. "The Trevor Project: Help for Suicidal Gay Teens." Connect for Kids (April 10, 2006):

The Trevor Project web site:


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: The Trevor Project  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2007  
    Date Last Updated February 9, 2010  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2007 glbtq, Inc.  


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