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July 29, 2015
I’m hitting the road in September.
I’ll be driving upwards of 5,000 miles, stopping in 18 venues in 13 different states in the south and midwest, where I will meet with LGBTQ teens and talk to them, basically, about weathering the painfully difficult storm of being young and LGBTQ..
As you may well know, LGBTQ youth are 4 times more likely than their heterosexual peers to die by suicide. Despite all the gains made by the LGBTQ movement in terms of equality and visibility, this sad fact remains.
To me, this is an issue of connection and belonging. When young people find that they are different in a fundamental way than their families of origin, core issues about worthiness erupt.
They certainly did for me when I was younger. Below is a picture of me at 14, just about the time I began to realize I was gay. It was such a difficult time for me, and for a lot of it, I felt that maybe the world would be just fine without me.
I touch upon those feelings of disconnection and lack of belonging in my newest novel, The Porcupine of Truth. In that novel, Aisha, a 17-year-old living in Billings, Montana, is kicked out of her home for being a lesbian.
I write novels hoping to connect with teens who feel the way I did. It has been a joy and a pleasure to do so, and now I’m looking for a way to make more of a difference.
So I will be hitting the road for “The Trevor Project Awareness Tour with Bill Konigsberg.” The trip is a fundraiser for The Trevor Project. Specifically, the funds raised will go to trevorspace, a social networking community for LGBTQ youth ages 13 through 24 and their friends and allies. It is my hope to raise more than $25,000 for trevorspace.
Please donate to the cause here.
As you may know, The Trevor Project is the nation’s leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. Along with sharing my own story and listening to the stories of young people, I will be sharing information about the resources The Trevor Project offers, such as:
THE TREVOR LIFELINE – 866.488.7386
[U.S. CALLS ONLY]
The Trevor Lifeline is the only free and confidential crisis intervention and suicide prevention lifeline for LGBTQ youth available 24/7 anywhere in the U.S. Each year trained volunteers take tens of thousands of calls from young people across the country at each of our 3 call centers named for Trevor co-founder Randy Stone and LGBT civil rights leader Harvey Milk. The Trevor Lifeline is accredited as an exemplary crisis intervention program by the American Association for Suicidology.
TrevorChat is a free, confidential, secure online messaging service that provides live help through this website. TrevorChat is only intended to assist those who are not at risk for suicide. It’s available Friday, Saturday and Monday between the hours of 1:00 PM Pacific (4:00 PM Eastern) and 7:00 PM Pacific (10:00 PM Eastern). Connect with a volunteer who can support you with your concerns and questions. [U.S. Residents only]
TrevorSpace.org is a social networking community for LGBTQ youth ages 13 through 24 and their friends and allies. Youth can create personal profiles and connect with other young people around the world, as well as find resources within their communities. Join at Trevorspace.org.
Here is the itinerary for the tour:
Tuesday, September 8: Youth First, Resource Center, 3918 Harry Hines, Dallas, TX, 7pm
Wednesday, September 9: South Houston High School, South Houston, TX (closed event)
Friday, September 11: Center for Artistic Revolution, LMH Youth Drop-in Center, 800 Scott St., Little Rock, AR, 7pm
Saturday, September 12: Magic City Acceptance Center, 412 37th St. South, Birmingham, AL, 7pm
Monday, September 14: Pride School Atlanta, at the UUCA, 1911 Cliff Valley Way NE (enter on I-85N Access Road), 6:30pm
Tuesday, September 15: Oasis Center, 1704 Charlotte Ave, Suite 200, Nashville, TN, 4:30-8:30pm
Thursday, Sept. 17: Bloomington Prism Youth Group, Pourhouse Cafe (314 E. Kirkwood Ave.), basement community rooms, Bloomington, IN, 7pm
Friday, Sept. 18: Whitman Walker Clinic, 1525 14th St., NW, Washington, DC, 7pm
Monday, Sept. 21: First Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green, 126 South Church St, Bowling Green, OH, 7pm
Tuesday, Sept. 22: Saline High School, Saline, MI (closed event)
Wednesday, Sept. 23: Robert W. Sneden Center Auditorium, Davenport University, Grand Rapids, MI, noon
Thursday, Sept. 24: Allegan High School, Allegan, MI (closed event)
Friday, Sept. 25: Alliance High School, Milwaukee, WI (closed event)
Sunday, Sept. 27: Trinity Episcopal Church, 600 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO, 5pm (Growing American Youth and Prime Timers joint event)
Monday, Sept. 28: St. Louis Public Library, 1301 Olive St., St. Louis, MO, 7pm
Tuesday, Sept. 29: South Omaha High School, Omaha, NE (closed event)
Tuesday, Sept. 29: Urban Abbey, 1026 Jackson St., Omaha, NE, 7pm
Wednesday, Sept. 30: Century High School, 2525 Viola Road, NE, Rochester, MN, 6:30 – 8:00
Thursday, Oct. 1: Anoka, MN (closed event)
Monday, Oct. 5: Free State High School, Lawrence, KS (closed event)
Monday, Oct. 5: Maize High School, Wichita, KS (closed event)
Monday, Oct. 5: Watermark Books, 4701 East Douglas, Wichita, KS, 6pm
If you’re in one of these areas, I hope you’ll come out for an event! And if you’re in an area where there’s an event open to the public, I hope you’ll encourage the young LGBTQ people in your life to come.