Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.
“At that time homosexuality was even less accepted than it is today,” said John Callery, Director of Technology for the organization. “We target young people, struggling with puberty and early adulthood- who might need help just getting along with friends and family. LGBQ youth’s have very high rates of suicide and transgender youth’s have even higher. The Trevor Project is a resource for for when they’re going through the ‘bumps’ we all have in life or for when they’re having more trying times. Sometimes there are other calls when people have a plan, an attempt, or thoughts of suicide and those might require heavier intervention. The organization tries to reach out to those people in multiple ways, a lifeline through text, online chat, and through the online social network TrevorSpace.”
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10-24. Lesbian, Bisexual, and Gay youth are four times more likely to commit suicide than heterosexual peers. Just one supportive person can decrease an LGBTQ youth’s risk for suicide by 30%. The mission of The Trevor Project is to provide this powerful support and end suicide among gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people.
“The Internet is the single most important channel for The Trevor Project to promote and facilitate its life-saving resources, and recruit and engage with volunteers and the community,” explained Callery. Especially considering the organization’s target youth demographic, the Internet serves as an essential information channel for the Trevor Project. “The biggest threat comes in the form of an outage, meaning we can’t deliver our services or spread awareness through our platform,” Callery noted.
Nonprofits (especially those partaking in controversial missions) are particularly susceptible to online attack. This is largely due to the fact that non-profits typically don’t have funds earmarked for such protection. As Callery noted, “If you look at our budget, all of our money is going to supporting our mission. We don’t have the resources to buy protection from these kind of attacks.”
The Trevor Project is involved in a particularly controversial mission. “There are stigmas associated with being LGBTQ even in countries where same-sex marriage is legal, like the United States,” Callery noted. “Because of the lack of ubiquitous national and international acceptance, LGBTQ-serving organizations are still the target of hate crimes, which can come in many forms including online attacks. If a large-scale attack was directed at an organization like The Trevor Project, young people would be unable to receive the critical support that they need in a time of distress or crisis, and the organization would unable to receive the support that it needs to fund those critical services.”
“Project Galileo provides us with a level of protection that we need. It provides us with redundancy and protection that we wouldn’t be able to afford. It’s security and peace-of-mind that is typically only attained by paying thousands of dollars and having a large budget and staff.”
“If a large-scale attack was directed at an organization like The Trevor Project, young people would be unable to receive the critical support that they need in a time of distress or crisis, and the organization would unable to receive the support that it needs to fund those critical services.”
Director of Technology