Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

IT GETS BETTER: Anti-suicide project reflects on cases
by Sam Worley
2010-10-13

This article shared 5603 times since Wed Oct 13, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


The Trevor Project, a nationwide nonprofit that works to prevent suicide in young LGBT people, maintains a "lifeline": a phone number that teens can call in times of distress. In recent weeks, that line has been flooded with calls. Some come from young people seeking help; but Laura McGinnis, Trevor's communications director, said that a growing proportion of callers are individuals with questions about the organization, or people wishing to make a donation.

The increased volume of calls coming into the lifeline—meant only for emergency situations—is an indication of burgeoning public attention to what some see as an epidemic: the number of suicides—at least five high-profile cases in the past month—of LGBT teens. The suicides have fallen across a wide age spectrum: the youngest, Seth Walsh and Asher Brown, were 13; the oldest and most recent suicide, Raymond Chase, was 19. They have spanned the country, occurring in Texas, California, Indiana, Rhode Island and New Jersey.

The attention, McGinnis told Windy City Times, is a mixed blessing, coming as it has on the heels of tragedy. "Anytime we lose a life, that's always a tragedy," she said. "This additional reporting does not diminish the hurt and pain of the survivors.

"If there is one thing that the end of these young lives has brought, it's more awareness. What we know is that [ when ] a young person is feeling suicidal, when they know that there are resources available, they're much more likely to reach out to those resources for help."

The media attention paid to the recent suicides—which McGinnis said has more breadth and specificity than in times past—has also brought to light the broader trend of suicide in LGBT teens. Teens on the whole are more likely to attempt suicide than other demographics—100 to 200 attempts for every completed suicide in people aged 15 to 24, as compared to four attempts for every completed suicide for people 65 and older—and LGBT teens, who face social stigma, bullying and cultural homophobia, are at even higher risk. The Trevor Project estimates that LGBT youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, and LGBT youth who "come from highly rejecting families" are eight times as likely.

In June, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law the Jason Flatt Act, a suicide-prevention bill, versions of which have been passed in four other states. The Flatt Act mandates suicide-prevention training for some school social workers, and adds such training to the list of professional development activities required for teacher certification or recertification.

That bill, however, did not specifically address the heightened risk of suicide faced by LGBT teens. McGinnis said that the Trevor Project supports federal legislation to combat suicide that contains "enumerated policies," that is, specific provisions for sexual orientation and gender identity. The Trevor Project, along with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network ( GLSEN ) and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays ( PFLAG ) , has worked to pressure lawmakers to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act, which requires certain schools to put comprehensive anti-bullying policies in place.

That bill—which, as it makes specific mention of sexual orientation and gender identity, has been criticized by the conservative group Focus on the Family as promoting "pro-gay curricula"—is pending in Congress.

The legislation recognizes a major cause of suicide in LGBT youth, and one that has been widely blamed for the most recent spate of suicides: anti-gay bullying. In a statement released after two recent deaths, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, "These unnecessary tragedies come on the heels of at least three other young people taking their own lives because the trauma of being bullied and harassed for their actual or perceived sexual orientation was too much to bear."

"These young people didn't just die," McGinnis told Windy City Times. "They were bullied."

Even as social acceptance of LGBT people has grown, the prevalence of the Internet—in particular, social-networking sites like Facebook—has made avenues of bullying more diffuse, more anonymous and harder to combat. Tyler Clementi, perhaps the most high-profile of the recent suicides, killed himself after his roommate used his webcam to broadcast Clementi having sex with another man online.

Shortly before his death, Clementi left a terse note on his Facebook page: "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry."

Activists are also using the Internet to respond to the most recent suicide crisis. In addition to Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" project, the Gay-Straight Alliance Network launched its own YouTube campaign: "Make It Better" seeks video submissions from young activists working to improve conditions in their own lives. Whereas the focal point of Savage's campaign is adult life—the point at which it "gets better"—the GSA Network says that it wants to provide tools to young people to change their present situations.

In response to the challenge presented by cyberbullying, and as an attempt to reach teens through non-traditional means, the Trevor Project launched two online initiatives: this past summer, the organization launched TrevorChat, a crisis intervention service that electronically connects users with counselors. TrevorChat is not yet operational around the clock: In its current iteration, it is live for a period of time every Friday. McGinnis said that it has been "exceptionally popular."

And since 2008, the Trevor Project has sponsored a social-networking site for young people and allies that seeks to create safe space for expression. McGinnis said that TrevorSpace, which is monitored in order to create a "bully-free zone," has more than 12,000 users. "It doesn't matter the size of your town," McGinnis said. "You can make friends and find a community."

Learn more about the Trevor Project Saturday, Oct. 16, 6-9 p.m., at the home of Paul Reitz and David Rosen, 1457 W. Addison. The suggested donation is $45; see http://www.thetrevorproject.org/TrevorChicago.

Also, entertainers Amy & Freddy, as well as performers from the Baton Show Lounge, are slated to perform at a fundraiser for the Trevor Project Monday, Oct. 25, at Roscoe's Tavern, 3365 N. Halsted. Call the bar at 773-281-3355 for more information.


This article shared 5603 times since Wed Oct 13, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

WORLD Queer teen dies, trans activist honored, HIV drugs, mpox, British lesbian 2023-12-01
- In India, queer makeup artist Pranshu reportedly died by suicide—at age 16—after being subjected to relentless attacks online, PinkNews noted. On social media, LGBTQIA+-rights advocacy collective Yes, We Exist claimed ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Trevor Project, anti-trans crimes, priest sentenced, hate-crimes unit 2023-11-24
- The Trevor Project announced the extension of its partnership with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, reaffirming its commitment to providing specialized assistance to LGBTQ+ people who call 9-8-8, The Advocate reported. Interim Senior Vice President ...


Gay News

Study: 40% of trans people have attempted suicide 2023-07-21
- A new study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found that 81% of transgender adults in the country have thought about suicide, 42% of transgender adults have attempted it and 56% have engaged ...


Gay News

New 988 National Suicide Prevention Hotline number launches 2022-07-17
- On July 16, Vibrant Emotional Health—the nonprofit that operates the lifeline on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)—launched ...


Gay News

Trevor Project: 45% of LGBTQ youth considered suicide in the past year 2022-05-26
- The Trevor Project recently released its 2022 survey on the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth. According to an introduction from Trevor Project CEO & Executive Director Amit Paley, the survey demonstrates that rates of suicidal thoughts ...


Gay News

WORLD Trevor Project, Ukraine items, LGBTQ politician, Kosovo's anti-gay move 2022-03-20
- The Trevor Project—the LGBTQ+ suicide-prevention organization named after "Trevor," an Academy Award-winning short film about a gay teenager who attempts suicide—is expanding its services into Mexico, NBC News reported. The ...


Gay News

Gay Maryland mayor dies by suicide 2022-01-30
- The Maryland city of Hyattsville released a statement announcing its city's openly gay mayor, Kevin Ward, had died by an apparent suicide, The Washington Blade reported. On Twitter, the city posted, "It is with great sadness ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Bullying items, non-binary student, trans ornaments, Hillary Clinton 2021-12-12
- In Tennessee, a Bedford County seventh-grader died by suicide Nov. 28 after he was ruthlessly bullied for being gay, according to LGBTQ Nation. The parents of 12-year-old Eli Fritchley say his peers repeatedly told him he ...


Gay News

Lil Nas X receives inaugural Trevor Project award 2021-09-05
- The Trevor Project announced that "Old Town Road" rapper Lil Was X was the recipient of its inaugural Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year Award. On its website, the organization stated, " Lil Nas X has ...


Gay News

Gender-affirming care associated with lower suicide risk for transgender people 2021-09-01
--From a Williams Institute press release - A summary of current data on suicide risk and prevention among transgender people in recognition of Suicide Prevention Month Transgender people who need and receive gender-affirming medical care have a lower prevalence of suicide thoughts and ...


Gay News

Trevor Project data on LGBTQ youth suicide shows urgency of Equality Act 2021-07-06
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Freedom & Opportunity For All, a national campaign advocating for the urgent passage of the Equality Act, and The Trevor Project, the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Social-justice activist, dominatrix Mistress Velvet dies 2021-05-21
- PASSAGES Social-justice activist, dominatrix Mistress Velvet dies By Carrie Maxwell Social-justice activist and dominatrix Mistress Velvet (who used they/them pronouns) died by suicide May 9 in Chicago. They were 33. ...


Gay News

Trevor Project releases 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 2021-05-19
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC May 19, 2021 The Trevor Project, the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people ...


Gay News

GLAAD responds to increase in suicide attempts among trans youth in Arkansas 2021-04-19
--From a press release - (New York, NY - April 19, 2021) GLAAD is responding to reports of an increase in suicide attempts among transgender youth in Arkansas, which on April 6 became the first U.S. state to outlaw gender-affirming ...


Gay News

Study: 30% of young LGBQ people have attempted suicide in their lifetimes 2021-04-09
--From a press release - A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds younger LGBQ adults experience greater psychological distress and suicidal behavior than older LGBQ people. Researchers examined a representative sample of LGBQ people in ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.