I’m proud to be part of an anthology benefiting The Trevor Project (Come, Play under the pen name T. M. Chris), a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. The Trevor Project has been doing good work for the queer community since 1998.
Trevor is fictional, originally a character created and acted in a one-man show called Word of Mouth by James Lecesne. The show inspired a movie called Trevor, and the movie inspired The Trevor Project. Since then, hundreds of thousands of young people in crisis have reached out to The Trevor Project’s multiple in-person and online life-saving, life-affirming resources.
For more information about The Trevor Project, what it does, and how it was conceived, see their website, from which I shamelessly stole a couple of those sentences above.
There’s another “project” that had a profound influence on me personally, and that’s The Laramie Project. The Laramie Project is a play written about the 1998 real life-murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming by two men who tortured him, robbed him, and left him for dead. He was found the next day, still alive but too far gone to save.
One of my hobbies is theater, and I had the opportunity to work on a production of The Laramie Project. Bearing in mind that the play centers the effect of this crime on non-queer people, rather than the damage done to queer people themselves, it is nevertheless deeply moving. Calm, non-hyperbolic, honest, painful, and moving.
Matthew Shepard’s murder called national attention to the need for hate crime legislation. The murderers attempted to use the “gay panic” defense but were succesfully convicted. Since then, several states have banned the use of “panic” as a defense in crimes against gay and trans people, and the American Bar Association has approved a resolution to ban it completely, but the practice still persists.
If you ever get a chance to see a production of The Laramie Project, I hope you’ll take it, but please do also support organizations like The Trevor Project that center the queer community. While education and acceptance are important, particularly with respect to enacting legislation to promote equal rights and equal safety for LGBT+ people, we can’t lose sight of who the true victims of homophobia are.