Editor's Note: Charles Robbins is the Executive Director of The Trevor Project, the non-profit organization that operates the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. He previously held key leadership positions at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
"The hardest thing about school wasn't the homework or the tests, it was being hassled because I was gay. I even tried to kill myself over it. I almost ended my life because of some ignorant people. I'm glad I failed at suicide, because my life is so amazing now."
The message above is from one of our new social marketing campaign advertisements at The Trevor Project. The campaign, entitled "I'm Glad I Failed," depicts gay youth with stories about how intolerance and harassment led them to attempt suicide, and how glad they are that those attempts failed because their lives have since changed for the better.
It is tragic to know that suicide rates among LGBTQ youth are highest during the back-to-school season. Beginning a new school year in high school or college creates stress and difficulties for many young people, and struggling with sexual orientation issues can trigger additional challenges. That is precisely why we are launching the "I'm Glad I Failed" campaign this September to coincide with the start of the new school year, as well as National Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 7 through 13, 2008).
We know that with this powerful campaign we can reach not only LGBTQ youth who will learn about The Trevor Helpline as a resource they can turn to; but also straight youth, who need to be educated about the life-shattering consequences of being intolerant of and disrespectful toward their gay peers.
We hope we can count on you, our supporters and allies, to help us deploy this campaign! Suicide is one of the top three killers of young people, and LGBTQ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. Therefore, it is especially critical that we maximize exposure of this campaign. With your help, we can ensure that LGBTQ youth do not become tragic statistics, and instead live the happy, healthy lives they deserve. Print and banner advertisements can be downloaded free of charge at: www.thetrevorproject.org/ImGladIFailed. We encourage you to distribute the artwork to publications, organizations, Web sites and any other outlets that will build the buzz of the campaign.
Young people are the most important resources our communities possess. At The Trevor Project, we are committed to saving young lives through our free and confidential helpline, in-school workshops, Web site and educational materials. We also provide lifesaving guidance and vital resources to parents and educators in order to foster safe, accepting and inclusive environments for all youth, at home and at school. Join us in our efforts to promote acceptance of LGBTQ youth throughout the country.
For more information, pease visit The Trevor Project's Website.