Since 1998 when I founded The Trevor Project (the only national 24/7 suicide prevention and crisis intervention lifeline for LGBT and Questioning youth), I’ve been fortunate to be on the front lines as several generations of young people came of age. Often the kids I spoke with were in crisis, but regardless of their current circumstances or frame of mind, it’s been clear to me that their greatest struggle has been navigating between the rules of the world, which they’ve been forced to accept, and the world they envision for us all. I’m aware that young people still have plenty to figure out, but I also know firsthand that they have much to offer. This current generation of queer teenagers seems especially equipped to deal with the challenges ahead and they have a lot to teach us about what it means to be fully human – if only we would listen.
This past year Ryan and I have had the opportunity to visit schools and talk with young people about their lives. These visits have been illuminating, and they've convinced us that there's a need to create safe spaces for these kids within our communities, opportunities for these kids to feel not only safe, but also seen and celebrated.
Our visits include storytelling, theater games and songwriting. Together Ryan and I have brought these workshops to Performing Arts High Schools, Community Centers and local GSA’s (Gay Straight Alliance), giving LGBT and Questioning young people from coast to coast, and providing them with the tools to express their unique selves through song and story.The results have been noting short of astounding.
It seems the world is never quite ready to know what a younger generation sees or feels, but nothing changes until that generation ages up and starts to make it happen. The Future Perfect Project is providing this new next generation of LGBT and Questioning young people with the tools to tell us what they know, what they feel and what they see – a future in which every person is perfectly and fully themselves. This current generation of queer teenagers have a lot to teach us about what it means to be fully human – if only we would listen.
- co-founder of The Future Perfect Project