Over the course of the last 50 years a new, more positive light has been cast on the LGBTQIA+ community. With education and better representation in the media, we are not only seeing most support for these people on an interpersonal level, but in the form of charity and philanthropic organizations.
Perhaps one of the best known organizations that support LGBTQIA+ communities is The Trevor Project. Founded in 1998 by film producer Peggy Rajski, The Trevor Project is a nonprofit organization established as the first national crisis intervention and suicide prevention lifeline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youths. \
It all started in the mid-90’s when Peggy Rajski and Randy Stone saw James Lecesne one-man show, “Word of Mouth,” about a 13-year-old boy named Trevor who questions his sexuality bullied, and succumbs to the abuse he receives from society. Immensely inspired, the two producers invited Lecesne to adapt his play into a short film titled “Trevor.” The film went on to win a number of prestigious awards, including the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.
Most people would have let their award-winning film speak for their belief system, but Peggy Rajski couldn’t do just that. It was through an HBO special on the Trevor Project hosted by Ellen DeGeneres that Rajski realized that there wasn’t a place for young people like Trevor to receive help when forced to undergo similar challenges. Jolted to action, Rajski recruited the help of Lecesne and mental health experts to develop a safe, nationwide 24-hour crisis line.
“I suddenly had this realization there were also going to be a countless number of kids watching who might be feeling like Trevor,” Rajski says. “I couldn’t stand the thought that they might not have a safe place to turn for help… But then my producing side kicked in. Producing is all about problem solving, so I just went ‘Well, if there’s not a 24/7 hotline for gay kids in crisis, we’ll have to create one ourselves.’”
Since then, The Trevor Project has become an invaluable resource for hundreds of young people in crisis. Rajski and her team have developed a number of in-person and online for people in need. Be it through lifelines such as the Trevor Lifeline, TrevorChat, or TrevorText, prevention training resources such as the Trevor Lifeguard Workshop, Trevor Ally Training, or the TrevorSpace, Rajski has been an instrumental part in providing young people life-saving resources that did not not previously exist, and the nation has noticed.
Hundreds of celebrities have vocalized their support for The Trevor Project. From talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, to Hollywood legends Ian McKellen and Queen Latifah, to former United States President Barack Obama, celebrities from all walks of life have seen the importance of Rajski’s work and advocate for the powerful changes it makes on the lives of youths in crisis.
Starting a non-profit from the ground up is a daunting process, but through the support of volunteers, donations, and a dedicated team, Peggy Rajski has managed to develop an organization that changes people’s lives for the better every single day. Spreading love and acceptance throughout the world is a feat few have been able to achieve, but that is exactly what Rajski did with the Trevor Project.
“I’ve been with The Trevor Project every step of the way and continue to serve on its Board of Directors to this day,” Rajski says. “The dedication of everybody involved—the board, the staff, the hundreds of volunteers who work on our crisis services–never ceases to amaze me. I tell you, there’s some kind of magic to Trevor. It always seems to attract what it needs to keep it going and growing, and spreading its loving message far and wide.”
Your feelings are valid 💜
If you’re in crisis, we’re here 24/7 to support you at: 866.488.7386 or text/chat https://t.co/hxtScqt870 📲
— The Trevor Project (@TrevorProject) June 29, 2020