OUR STORY

The current generation of queer young people has a lot to teach us about what it means to be fully human—if only we will listen.

A group of folks are pictured in the foreground of the image, sitting at a brown wooden table  in a community room. On the left sits a person with a warm light brown skin tone, with black ombre to blonde hair, who closes their eyes as they laugh with their mouth open. They wear a black shirt, and hold their right hand over their chest and gold necklace. In the center is a person with a light olive skin tone, brown short hair, and white glasses. Facing the person on the left, they wear a grey button up and jacket, and smile. Facing the two folks to their left, is a person with red long hair and a lighter pale skin tone. They have a yellow sweatshirt on with name tags, and hold one closed hand to their mouth as they smile. Different sodas and snacks are on the table.

I’ve been fortunate as co-founder of The Trevor Project to be on the front lines of change as several generations of young people have come of age. But in 2016 as I was traveling the country with my solo show, I began to notice something different about this current generation of LGBTQ+ youth and their allies. For starters, they were incredibly well informed about the world and could thoughtfully discuss important issues such as politics, climate crisis, racism, homophobia and capitalism. They had a social justice component that I’d never seen in any previous generation, and what made it even more impressive was the fact that their awareness extended beyond the reach of the LGBTQ+ community. Their insistence on diversity and inclusion was absolute and included everyone. They’ve also grown up with the Internet, making them the first generation to live a life with the answers literally at their fingertips. But most remarkable to me was how they were changing what it meant to be LGBTQ+. Just as my generation had fought so hard for the right to be ourselves as out gays and lesbians, this generation is fighting to be recognized and respected as the people they knew themselves to be. In a recent study, The Trevor Project revealed that more than one in five LGBTQ youth in the United States identify as a sexual orientation other than gay, lesbian or bisexual. It is a whole new world in which LGBTQ youth are using terms like “queer, trisexual, omnisexual or pansexual” to describe their identity. This made me wonder if perhaps young people today were living in a future that hadn’t yet arrived.  Just as I once felt out of sync with the times in which I lived, perhaps these 14, 15, 16, 17-year-olds were a step ahead of the world around them. 

 

In early 2017, I teamed up with singer-songwriter, Ryan Amador and together we set out to travel the country and find out if this generational shift was happening everywhere. We called ourselves The Future Perfect Project and devised a program that involved visiting high schools and LGBTQ+ Youth Centers and providing youth with a safe space to engage in creative writing and performance. When possible, we facilitated a live performance for a larger community audience in an effort to help queer, trans, and allied youth become more safe, seen, and celebrated.

 

It seems the world is never quite ready to know what a younger generation sees or feels, but change happens when young people begin to age-up and make the future 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: and what they see is a future in which every person gets to be perfectly and fully themselves. 

 

—Celeste Lecesne, Executive Director, The Future Perfect Project

MEET THE TEAM

A close up of a white non-binary person with  short black and grey hair, and blue eyes in front of black background. He is centered in the image,  smiles and looks upwards. They wear a dark blue  button up shirt with light blue, yellow, and red details.

CELESTE LECESNE (he/they) 
Executive Director/Facilitator/Co-Founder

Celeste wrote the short film TREVOR, which won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short. They are the co-founder of The Trevor Project, the only nationwide 24-hour suicide prevention and crisis intervention Lifeline for LGBT and Questioning youth. They have written three novels for young adults and created The Letter Q, a collection of letters by queer writers written to their younger selves. Lecesne was the executive producer of After The Storm, a documentary film that tells the story of 12 young people living in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. An actor as well as a writer, Celeste has created several award-winning solo shows including The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, Word of Mouth and One Man Band. jameslecesne.com

A close up of a white man with short brown hair, a reddish brown mustache and a reddish brown trimmed goatee. He has blue eyes, thick eyebrows, and looks upwards. His mouth is partially open. He wears a dark red shirt. A white wall is behind him and has his shadow on the lower, middle half of the image.

RYAN AMADOR (he/him
Director of Operations/Facilitator/Co-Founder

Ryan is a recording artist, songwriter, and theater-maker with three full length albums and five EP’s of original music online. He is best known for his song “Instead” which has over six million listens on Spotify, as well as LGBT-related music videos “Define Me,” “Spectrum,” and “Loverboy,” which have been featured in Huffington Post Queer Voices. His most recent music video, “Like A Woman,” is a collaboration with global women’s rights organization VDay/1 Billion Rising, and calls men into the movement to end violence against women. Ryan is the recipient of a 2013 ASCAP Award for Songwriting and is a graduate of NYU’s Theater Department. He has directed and written theater pieces in New York City, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Seattle, and Abu Dhabi. Ryan and James are currently working on a musical about queer youth. ryanamador.com

A woman with a lighter, olive skin tone, is in the center of the close up photo, looking to the right and smiling.  She has light blonde, short hair, with the side of her head shaved. She has brown eyes, and  wears a black glasses, and a dark blue denim jacket on top of her red shirt. In the background, to her left, is an open white door with a yellow light lighting the wall a similar tone. To her right, in the background are two oval objects, one red with a white middle stripe, the one below it, white with a red middle stripe, hanging on a white wall.

JULIE NOVAK (she/her) 

Media Producer/Facilitator

Julie is a musician, writer, and performer who enjoys making people laugh, feel loved, and consider their role in making the world a better place. Trained with a background in theatre, comedy, and improv, she is co-founder of TMI Project, a non-profit offering transformative memoir workshops and performances where participants are encouraged to share the parts of their stories that they usually leave out. She has performed all over the United States, including touring her one-person show, America’s Next Top, which had a successful run in the NYC Fringe Festival. Currently, she is the host of No One Like You, a radio show and podcast where she interviews everyday heroes who share uplifting stories about turning their kryptonite into their superpower. julienovak.com

A close up of a white woman with long brown hair and brown eyes,  looking directly at the camera and smiling. She stands in front of a salmon colored wall. Her gold, medium sized hoop earrings match her gold necklace that rests a little below her neck. The gold necklace has white upper case letters individually as charms, that spell her name ‘Emma’. She also wears a white and black button up, with a marble pattern on it.

EMMA JAYNE SESLOWSKY (she/her)  
Media Producer/Facilitator

Emma is an Emmy-nominated singer-songwriter, and Webby nominated podcast host and editor who’s been featured everywhere—from Justin Bieber fragrance commercials to Coca Cola digital campaigns. Her single “Morning” premiered on PRIDE.com, who called it “a literal ball of queer sunshine.” When she’s not podcasting or singing, Emma’s performing all around the country, hosting comedy and music variety shows, and taking on song commissions for private clients. emmajaynesings.com

A Latinx non-binary person with short, black curly hair and brown eyes  is centered in the close up photo, in front of a blue grey background. Their shadow is pictured, on the right bottom half of the image. They look directly at the camera, and have a slight smile. They wear brown tortoise shell patterned glasses, and a horizontally striped turtleneck. The turtle neck has white lines in between each stripe, and begins on their neck with a grey blue color, and a light, then dark orange color at the collar. From their shoulders, the color pattern goes dark orange, dark blue, light orange, and light grey blue.

Z INFANTE (they/them) 

Director of Youth Outreach/Facilitator

Z is an actor, writer, and producer based in New Jersey. They began their career as an actor working on Rick Linklater’s film School of Rock starring Jack Black and Joan Cusack. Recently, they became a Theater Bay Award Finalist, SFTBA Critic Circle Award Nominee and BroadwayWorld Award Winner for their performance in John Leguizamo and Tony Taccone’s new musical Kiss My Aztec! at Berkeley Repertory Theater & La Jolla Playhouse. Additional credits include: Alice By Heart (Duncan Sheik, Steven Sater, Jessie Nelson), Somewhere a play by Matthew Lopez and A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Julie Taymor. Film/TV: GOTHAM, Alpha House, Carrie Pilby, Jeffrey. Podcast: Audible’s Sorry Charlie, Wait Wait Don’t Kill Me (Webby Award Winner) & The College Tapes. zacharyinfante.com

Where we've been

ALABAMA

  • Magic City Acceptance Center, Birmingham

ARKANSAS

  • DYSC (Diverse Youth for Social Change), Little Rock

  • Central High School, Little Rock

CALIFORNIA

  • Orange County School of the Arts, Santa Ana

  • Canyon Crest Academy, San Diego

COLORADO

  • Denver School of the Arts, Denver

CONNECTICUT

  • New Haven Academy, New Haven

  • Hartford Stage Company Youth Program, Hartford

  • Watkinson School, Hartford

  • True Colors LGBTQ Youth Conference, Storrs

INDIANA

  • Greater Youth of Evansville

  • Brownsburg High School, Brownsburg

  • Herron High School, Indianapolis

  • Indiana Youth Group, Indianapolis

  • Park Tudor High School, Indianapolis

IOWA

  • Iowa Youth Writing Program, Iowa City

KANSAS​

  • Lawrence Library, Lawrence

  • Park Highland High, Topeka

MASSACHUSETTS

  • Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown

Minnesota

  • South High School, Minneapolis

Missouri

  • Kansas City Repertory Youth Program, Kansas City

  • Winnetonka High School, Kansas City

New York

  • Kingston High School, Kingston

  • Camp Lightbulb, New York City

  • Professional Performing Arts School, New York City

North Carolina

  • Time Out Youth Center, Charlotte

  • Inside Out LGBTQ Youth Center, Durham

Pennsylvania

  • High School of Creative and Performing Arts, Philadelphia

South Carolina

  • Uplift Youth Center, Spartanburg

Tennessee

  • Oasis Center for LGBT Youth, Nashville

Texas

  • HATCH, LGBTQ Youth Center, Houston

  • Tony’s Place, Houston

UTAH

  • Encircle Youth Summit, Lehi

WASHINGTON

  • Mercer Island High School, Mercer Island

  • Garfield High School, Seattle