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Press Release -- June 1st, 2019
Source: AT&T
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AT&T and the Trevor Project Help LGBTQ+ Youth

Improved Technology Allows the Trevor Project to Help Up to 500% More At-Risk LGBTQ+ Youth Per Year

Chris Brady is one of the many volunteers at the Trevor Project, a leading national non-profit that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ young people under age 25. As an out gay man who grew up in a small, conservative town in Pennsylvania, Brady understands the fear of coming out.

“It was a long process for me and I didn’t come out to my family and friends until my mid-20s,” said Brady, a senior marketing communications manager at AT&T* Communications. “There was an adjustment period, and I didn’t know if I was going to face rejection, but in the end, the people I care about came around.”

The uncertainty that Brady faced while closeted is part of the reason why he decided to volunteer with the Trevor Project. And the realization that many LGBTQ+ youth aren’t quite as fortunate is another reason.

Suicide in the United States – especially among young people – has become an epidemic. It is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24[1], according to the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth[2]. And in a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having attempted suicide. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.[3]

Because of these statistics, the Trevor Project and AT&T have collaborated to launch enhanced services that make it easier for at-risk LGBTQ+ youth to seek help. TrevorText and TrevorChat, soft launched the last week of April and live now, provide online support 24/7, 365 days a year via text messaging or chat. This technology provides increased capacity to equip the Trevor Project volunteers to help an estimated 400% to 500% more people per year, than before TrevorText and TrevorChat were implemented.

“I want every young LGBTQ+ person to know that the Trevor Project is here for them,” said Robert Hebert, LGBTQ+ marketing lead at AT&T Communications. “And it’s really an honor to help the Trevor Project, and to work for a company that really talks the talk, and walks the walk, and does genuinely care about the community.”

Hebert, an out gay man, grew up in a conservative, religious household in upstate New York. So, he understands the difficulty of coming out, and why services like the Trevor Project are so important.

“The Trevor Project didn’t exist when I was a kid, but if there was a way to discreetly talk to someone who understood, it would have saved me years of suffering, years of trauma, and uncertainty,” he said. “Just to have one person in your life, or one way to connect with someone who understands you, can make a world of a difference.”

TrevorText and TrevorChat are available anytime and anywhere in the United States for at-risk LGBTQ+ youth 24/7, 365 days a year. While June’s Pride Month is a time for celebrating, it can be very isolating for those who don’t have support from their family members or community.

Volunteering for the Trevor Project has been an enlightening experience for Brady.

“As a gay male, you grow up with one perspective, but you don’t necessarily understand the way others in the same community are impacted,” he said. “Trans youth are going through a particularly tough time right now, and that’s something I didn’t have visibility to. Being a part of this has really opened my eyes to see and understand, and to be a better member of the community.”

Brady is one of 10 AT&T employees who currently volunteer with the Trevor Project. He says the experience has been rewarding.

“It makes you feel like you really are making a difference in someone’s life,” he said. “There’s been a number of times when someone says, ‘This really had a huge impact on me. Thank you for spending the time to chat with me.’ It’s a reminder that you’re doing something that is helping someone in some way.”

AT&T has been a champion of the LGBTQ+ community for more than 40 years. In fact, in 1975 AT&T was one of the very first American companies to prohibit discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation. And again in 1998 we adopted one of the very first domestic partner benefits programs for LGBTQ employees. And later in 2006 we were one of the first companies to offer transgender-inclusive health care benefits. In 2015, AT&T signed onto a “friends of the court” brief at the U.S. Supreme Court to support the business case for marriage equality. Last year, AT&T contributed $1 million to the Trevor Project, which supports their life-saving services for at-risk LGBTQ+ youth. And this year, AT&T is ranked #1 on DiversityInc's 2019 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.

And as part of Pride Month, AT&T is presenting the 3rd annual LOVELOUD Festival in West Valley City, UT. This event, which celebrates the LGBTQ+ community, will feature performances by Kesha, Martin Garrix, Dan Reynolds, Tegan & Sara, Daya, K. Flay, Pvris, Laura Jane Grace, and others yet to be announced. LOVELOUD will be hosted by Kalen Allen, and live streamed by AT&T on Twitter and broadcast on Audience.

[1] CDC, NCIPC. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2010) {2013 Aug. 1}. Available from:www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars.

[2][2] CDC. (2016). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[3] James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.

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