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A quarterly update on the latest happenings at Volume 2, Issue 3 - Spring/Summer 2009 QUEER YOUTH ADVOCACY DAY IN SACRAMENTO On April 20, more than 200 young people from California united at the State Capitol in Sacramento to participate in Queer Youth Advocacy Day (QYAD). The Trevor Project was proud to be a sponsor of and a participant in this important day, hosted by Bienestar, GSA Network, the Transgender Law Center and Equality California. Along with other supportive efforts, The Trevor Project sent a busload of 20 young people from the Southern California area to Sacramento to participate in the day’s events, where they educated lawmakers about issues of importance to LGBTQ youth. Prior to QYAD, participants attended an advocacy training to prepare them to effectively lobby at the Capitol. On the day itself, they spoke to legislators and advocated for two bills. The first, Harvey Milk Day Bill (SB 572), would require the governor to proclaim May 22 as Harvey Milk Day each year, and encourage public schools and educational institutions to conduct suitable commemorative exercises about Milk’s life and contributions to the state. The second bill, The Minor Mental Health Consent Bill (SB 543), would allow young people (ages 12 through 17) to consent to mental health treatment or counseling without a parent or guardian’s consent, as long as the youth is mature enough to do so, or would present a danger of serious physical or mental harm to self and others without the services. The current law creates a barrier to treatment that is especially detrimental to LGBTQ youth, who may become the victims of emotional or physical abuse after coming out to their parents. Neither proposed bill has a fiscal impact. Two staff members from The Trevor Project, Phoenix Schneider, program director, and Dave Reynolds, advocacy and education manager, also attended QYAD and helped facilitate these activities among the groups. Once in Sacramento, QYAD participants were broken up into small groups and received a list of lawmakers with whom they would meet. Special thanks go out to helpline counselor Richard Horton, who volunteered to escort our youth participants throughout the day. Oscar Night 2009 in West Hollywood Guests at The Trevor Project’s Oscar Night 2009 cheered as Milk, the biopic about gay rights activist and politician, Harvey Milk, won two Academy Awards (Best Actor, Sean Penn and Best Screenplay, Dustin Lance Black). This set the tone for an upbeat and dynamic event at Here Lounge in West Hollywood on Feb. 22. The event drew approximately 250 guests in support of The Trevor Project. Andrew Christian, Daryl Stephens and Nick Verreos were among celebrity friends who attended the event. Guests enjoyed a hosted bar and hors d’oeuvres while watching the annual awards show on plasma screens. In total, the celebratory evening raised more than $11,000 for The Trevor Project. Dustin Lance Black’s acceptance speech touched the hearts of many guests when he said: “If Harvey had not been taken from us…I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches or by the government or by their families that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value.” 1

Trevor News - Spring/Summer 2009

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