More than 500 people turned out for an Oct. 8 fundraiser at D.C.’s Duplex Diner for the Trevor Project, a national group and telephone hotline that works to prevent LGBT teen suicide. Organizers said the event, which lasted several hours, raised $10,678 from mostly small to modest donations.
Jason Rahlan, one of six D.C. area gay men who organized the event, said he and his collaborators, including local activist Trevor Thomas, managed to put the event together with less than a week’s notice. The group decided they wanted to do something, he said, in response to a rash of gay teen suicides that occurred within a three-week period last month.
“I feel very lucky that I made it,” he told an overflowing crowd at the Duplex Diner, which agreed to make its entire space available for the event.
Recounting his own struggle to cope during his years as a teenager, Rahlan said he wants to help groups like Trevor Project guide LGBT teens through hardship caused by an epidemic of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in the nation’s public schools.
“It does get better,” he said, repeating a slogan adopted by gay columnist Dan Savage, who has joined efforts to combat teen suicide within the LGBT community.
The Trevor Project’s 24-hour help line can be accessed at 1-866-488-7386; its online chat rooms for LGBT youth can be reached here.