The Trevor Project & Celebrities Take a Stand for LGBTQ Youth
By Alexandra Temblador
Sarah Hyland and Nolan Gould
The stars descended on the Hollywood Palladium last night in Los Angeles for TrevorLIVE, the semi-annual charity event for the 16th year anniversary of The Trevor Project. As the nation’s leading organization for crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth, The Trevor Project hosted TrevorLIVE which featured a show filled with singers, presenters, and comedians. More importantly, it held a silent auction which helps to fund the free suicide prevention hotline with trained counselors, suicide prevention training resources, TrevorSpace, a social networking community for LGBTQ youth and allies, and education on LGBTQ issues within communities.
So why is the Trevor Project so significant? Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for teens ages 10-24, with 4,600 lives lost per year. However among teens, LGB youth are 4 times more likely and questioning youth are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide. Additionally, one half of all transgender youth have thought about suicide and one fourth have attempted suicide. To The Trevor Project these numbers are preventable. The Trevor Project and the celebrities that showed up in support of this cause believe they can make a difference, believe they can save lives through education and awareness.
In attendance last night were celebrities such as Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Lisa Kudrow, Sarah Hyland, Brittany Snow, Dan Bucatinksy, Molly Ringwald, Darren Criss, Alex Newell, Paul Wesley, Beth Behrs, Jennifer Coolidge, Jason Collins, Kelly Osbourne, and Jay R. Ferguson plus many others.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson
By speaking with many of the celebrities it was quite clear how important this charity event is to the LGBT community and the U.S. and, moreover, how vital it is to saving the lives of many youth in America. Ryan Eggold of The Blacklist said, “Any organization that helps people feel confident in themselves is a cool thing,” while Jessica Sanchez, American Idol runner-up on the eleventh season, said: “I have a lot of gay and lesbian friends and fans and I grew up being bullied so I understand how that feels. I’m glad to be here helping kids, spreading the word, and, hopefully, saving lives.”
Actor Ryan Eggold
The organization has been extremely helpful not only for youth but for parents as well. Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project, said that they “are very committed to education because we believe the more we know the better support we can be.” She explained that parents can check out the “Resources” page on TheTrevorProject.org which provides resources for children and parents. She also said that with their resources, parents “can know what their kids are facing but also how to be a supportive parent. Many parents want to be supportive and they don’t know how and our website will be a great resource for them.”
Not only does The Trevor Project provide resources for parents but it also encourages a strong youth participation in the organization. Skylar Kergil, the Youth Innovator Award recipient for the documentation of his transition from female-to-male said, “Helping others has always been important, especially LGBTQ youth. I’m really excited and happy that my story has inspired The Trevor Project in some way. They’ve really inspired me with their work and I’m happy to be a part of this organization.”
YouTube Personality and former intern at The Trevor Project, Tyler Oakley, shared his experiences with the organization and the impact it had on LGBTQ youth:
When I was an intern it was one of my jobs to get youth involved in campaigns. One of my favorite parts about being an intern was a campaign we did where we had people submit videos and kind of give them an opportunity to share their voice and their stories. It was the most successful campaign that they had ever done because so many youth got involved and shared their perspectives.
Many celebrities in attendance star in television series or roles that discuss LGBT issues. When asked how important is it for there to be TV shows that discuss LGBT issues and have LGBT characters for youth to look up to, Nolan Gould of Modern Family responded: “I think it’s really important. Shows like ours really push forward acceptance and equality. I’ve heard so many stories over the year, of kids coming out to their families because they had watched [Modern Family] together and they’ve learned what it means to be gay and that it’s okay to be different.”
Similarly, Alex Newell of Glee, a show that has been at the forefront of discussing LGBT issues among teens, had some positive stories to share about the impact his role as Wade/Unique Adams, a transgender teen, has had on families with LGBTQ youth. “Everything has been extremely positive. [Like] a parent walking up to me saying that my story and my character on the show has helped them understand their child more. It means that your work has actual texture and substance to it and it helps others.”
Jennifer Coolidge, an actress best known for her roles in American Pie, Legally Blonde, and 2 Broke Girls, was also at the event to show her support as this year’s host. She explained that “out of all the charity events in L.A., [The Trevor Project is] the one that changes the most each year and probably has the most progress.” Coolidge, a supporter of The Trevor Project since it was just a small organization expressed her admiration for the youth and their role in the organization: “[There are] some incredibly smart people in the audience. Young kids raising half a million bucks; they thought they could do it online and then actually did it.”
From the perspective of someone on the red carpet at this event, it was clear that all the celebrities, whether members of the LGBT community or their allies, truly believed in the importance of The Trevor Project and were glad to offer their support in any way they could to help save young lives. The Trevor Project is a vital organization because it is helping a new generation of LGBTQ youth by providing them a safe place to find support and encouragement to battle troubling times.
It is loud and clear for all to hear, The Trevor Project and its celebrity supporters are speaking directly to LGBTQ youth and they are saying: Your lives matter.
Brittany Snow and Jack Falahee
Melora Hardin- The Office
Kevin Zegers- Dawn of the Dead
Here are a couple videos we captured live from the red carpet
Jennifer Coolidge on the Trevor Poject
Tyler Oakly on The Trevor Project
Photo Credits: Getty Images on behalf of The Trevor Project (images 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9)
Photo Credits: Alexandra Temblador on behalf of The Next Family (images 3, 6, 7, 10-14)
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