We Are Not Alone: A Gift of Hope

Novel Publicity wants you to know: We are not Alone. 

As a response to negative mainstream news, Novel Publicity and its affiliates reached out to authors all over the world to come up with a positive response to all the turmoil we are exposed to in the world. There may be days you feel alone, like you are not part of your wider culture, days that you are discriminated against, or even worse, the target of hate crimes.

In the first of this series, we welcome authors Shannen Brady and Sarah Brady, a mother-daughter team who care as much as we do about human rights and equalitiy. Below, you’ll see a personal message from the authors, followed by a short story exclusive to our blog, resources and information on The Trevor Project.

We’d love to hear your comments, and even better, we’d love you to participate in this series and see how long we can keep up the momentum. If you’re interested in providing a personal letter and short work of fiction on this theme, please submit to our blog.

Enjoy & help us spread good karma by sharing this post!


By Shannen Brady and Sarah Brady: 
Being a mother/daughter pair writing together makes us a strange partnership, especially in the romance-writing world.

Writing steamy romance in both m/f and m/m expands that weird-factor exponentially. We hear a lot of “You write THAT with your mother?!” Readers and other writers want to know why two women (one straight and one not so much) would want to write about two men together.

The answer is pretty straight forward – if you’ll forgive the expression. We believe that love has no gender and no limits, and our stories reflect that. We write the stories our characters need us to write. Our heroes are male and female, gay, straight, bi, and everything in between. The one thing they all have in common is that they know what it is to be different, to be Other. The struggle to be accepted is universal.

Being true to oneself is so hard in a world that values fitting in more than standing out. The Trevor Project is an amazing organization that recognizes that fact. It offers education and a desperately needed lifeline when that struggle gets too hard. Along with more tangible assistance, it offers the one gift that can make all the difference in a young life – the gift of hope. We’re proud to be able to contribute to such a valuable endeavor and grateful to the Not Alone Project for giving us this opportunity.

Some stats on homelessness and sources:

The Trevor Project recognizes the detrimental effects that family rejection on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity can have LGBTQ youth. In one study, lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.1

As a result of family rejection, discrimination, criminalization, and a host of other factors, LGBTQ youth represent as much as 40 percent of the homeless youth population.2 Of those 40 percent, studies indicate that as many as 60 percent are likely to attempt suicide. 

Positive family relationships are some of the most important factors in reducing the risk of youth suicide. We urge policy makers to fully fund efforts to support homeless youth and to ensure that out of home care, foster care, and adoption is inclusive, nondiscriminatory, and culturally competent.

A Gift of Hope

“SECOND ARSON FIRE DAMAGES TRI-CITIES HIGH SCHOOL.”

The headline shouted at him. Devon St. John stopped in front of the newspaper box and stared at the headline through the glass. Dammit, not again. He hunched his thin shoulders against the bitter wind and hurried toward the entrance to the mall. At least in there, it was warm.

Inside the heated building, Dev juggled his light backpack from one arm to the other as he shrugged off his denim jacket and headed into the restroom. He could wash up there, and he wasn’t so grimy that the mall cop would immediately toss him out. As long as he didn’t sit too long in one place, he should be good for the afternoon. Maybe he’d spend some of the little cash he had left on a burger or something.

The water from the tap was cold, too, and it stung on Dev’s chapped hands and face, but it woke him up. He cupped his hands and drank as much water as he could, hoping to quiet the beast in his belly. Leaning on the white porcelain, he hardly recognized the weary, big-eyed face in the mirror as his own.

His face hadn’t been chapped pink when he’d looked in the mirror in the high school bathroom three days ago, but the wind burn wasn’t too bad by itself. His dark hair still stuck up every which way. That wasn’t new. He still looked weedy and skinny, and his concert t-shirt and old jacket had looked grungy even before he slept in them for two nights. It was the eyes that were different. The eyes that had looked back at him when he was still living his old life hadn’t been nearly as scared. He wished there was a lock on the bathroom door as he stared at his reflection in the scratched glass.

“Well, if it isn’t a little freshman fairy boy, cluttering up the senior bathroom.” Brackson Potter’s booming voice had echoed off the tiled walls that day. Dev tried to move around the bigger boy without touching him, but Potter shifted over to block his path. A couple of other boys stepped through the door behind Potter. Dev didn’t raise his eyes to see who they were, but he assumed they were seniors by their size. Crap. Maybe he could brazen it out.

“I didn’t know this was the senior bathroom. Maybe you should put up a sign.” Dev raised his chin and tried to sound indifferent. Damn sharks could smell blood in the water. If he showed any fear, they’d get more vicious.

“Maybe we’ll just make an example out of you instead.” Potter grabbed the front of Dev’s shirt in both hands and lifted him onto his toes. “That’ll keep the rest of the vermin away.”

The sound of the bathroom door opening snapped Devon out of his grim memory into a reality that wasn’t much better. He wiped his face with a damp paper towel and tossed it in the trash as a kid in a Burger Palace uniform came in and headed straight for the bank of urinals. The smell of French fry grease that surrounded the boy was enough to get Dev’s stomach rumbling again. He stood for just a second next to the trash can, looking and sniffing for a smoke before he left the room. Nothing. Good. If he’d been able to do that when he escaped the school bathroom that day, his life might be very different right now.

Devon wandered the mall’s broad corridors for several hours, carefully watching the hurrying women and giggling teens that he passed for any sign that they recognized him. Spokane was a long way from his suburban Kennewick neighborhood, but he had no idea how much effort his parents would put into looking for him. If they bothered to look at all. He’d like to think at least his mom would want to know if he was alright. At one point, a bored-looking man in a trench coat got up off a bench and left his newspaper behind, so Dev was able to get a look at the arson article. The Spokane reporter didn’t know much, but what he did know was bad enough.

Kennewick PD was investigating that fire in the bathroom trash can as an arson crime, just like the one that started a week ago behind the bleachers at the football field. They didn’t mention his name, only that KPD was searching for a student who was “a person of interest” in the case. There was some speculation that perhaps the fire was started by a Gifted person, a pyro-kinetic since the fire had burned so hot and there were no traces of accelerants at the scene. Peachy. Devon might be just a skinny kid, but he wasn’t stupid. He knew just what would happen if the cops figured out that he was the cause of those fires, especially if they knew he started them without so much as a match. Bad enough that his parents suspected he was a freak. The fires at the school weren’t the first, though he’d done his best to clean up the evidence. So far, no one knew for sure, and as long as he kept moving and stayed out of the way of cops or other authorities, no one ever would. Trouble was, without money or anywhere to go, that was getting harder every day.

***

A chill wind cut through the thin fabric of Devon’s jacket as he paced back and forth in front of the downtown bus station. In the fading light, the station took on sinister shadows, turning empty corners into dark pits. The eerie silence made Dev’s stomach clench, and the hollow sound of his footsteps reminded him that at this time of night, the only other people there were those who, like him, had nowhere else to go.

Devon shrank back as a man shambled by him, bundled in countless layers and talking to himself. Dev settled into the sheltered corner of the station steps and tried to make himself as small and unassuming as possible. He wondered – and not for the first time – whether it was better to just go home. At least at home, it was warm, there was food. His folks suspected he was gay already, judging by the number of nasty, hateful comments his dad had been spouting lately. The old bastard hated pretty much everybody who wasn’t him and spewing shit about gays, illegal aliens and Gifted people made of up the majority of his conversations. Dear old Dad was a Grade-A prick, but Devon was his only kid. Surely his parents couldn’t hate him that much. If he could just control his temper…if he figured out how to keep from setting fires…if he only dated girls, and never watched Ru Paul’s Drag Race again…

Dev jerked out of a fitful doze. He didn’t know how much time had passed, but it was full dark instead of twilight. He shivered. The wind had picked up, and even the two walls of his corner didn’t protect him from its gusts. He glanced around immediately, in the way that had become a habit. The man that had shuffled by him earlier sat on the other side of the concrete stairs, watching him. Dev’s heart thudded painfully in his chest as the stranger’s unfocused eyes – blurred by drugs or drink or both – roamed over him. No, going back to sleep wasn’t an option.

Devon scrambled to his feet, watching the other man warily as he made his way out of the station. The dark was faintly illuminated by a few flickering bulbs, one lighting a battered pay phone secured into an outside wall. Devon’s throat tightened. Maybe if he called home, it wouldn’t be so bad. He should at least check in with his mom, right?

He shuffled over to the phone, digging the last of his change out of his pockets. He’d never even used a pay phone before, and he had to rub some dirt off to read the instructions. He missed his old cell phone, left behind in pieces in that high school bathroom a lifetime ago. His hands trembled as he punched in his home number, but there was no one there to see.

“Hello?”

“…Mom?” Everything in him went lax as he heard his mother’s voice across the line. “It’s me. It’s Devon.”

“Dev! Oh, thank you, Lord!”

Devon winced. His folks went to church twice a week and credited “the Lord” with most positive things in life, but it had never put his heart in his throat quite like this before. Fortunately, his mom didn’t notice the silence. “Where are you?! Why did you leave?”

The simple question stopped the carefully worded excuses from tumbling out of his mouth. If he wanted to go home, he would go home honest. Lying for the sake of going home would make it easier to feed his physical body, but that wasn’t enough anymore. He all but felt his soul starving and shriveling every second he spent in that house. He had to tell them the truth, or in six months he’d end up in the exact same spot. It was all or nothing.

“I have something to tell you.”

“What? Did you – did you start those fires? Is that why you left?”

All or nothing, he reminded himself. “Not on purpose. It kind of just happened. By accident.”

“By accident? How does a fire happen by accident?” The sharpness in her voice made him want to back down, but he pressed on.

“I don’t know, when something bad happens, I get really hot, and everything seems like it’s building up inside of me, and I can’t help it.”

It was then that he heard her whisper.

“Gifted?”

“Maybe, mom, I don’t want it to happen but it does, and I don’t know how to stop it – ”

He could hear the barely controlled panic in her voice as she spoke over him. “You’re probably just confused, dear. No one in our family has ever been that way.”

The way she said “that way” made his gut hurt. Devon wanted to yell at her, to remind her that it wasn’t his fault, but she wasn’t done talking.

“It’s okay, honey, I’m sure there are doctors for that and we can fix it. They’ll make it go away.”

He wanted to believe her. More than anything, he wanted to believe her, but it wasn’t that easy.

“I’ve done some research, Mom. It isn’t going to just go away. If I’m really Gifted, it’s just something I was born with.”

Devon sucked in a deep breath. “It’s kind of like being gay.”

“Bullshit!” His father’s voice ripped through the phone, and all the breath in his body simply evaporated.

“Dad? I..I thought I was talking to Mom!”

“Oh, you’re on speaker phone, honey,” his mom said innocently.

It was all over. Dev knew it as his father’s shouts rang through the telephone. He’d thought that maybe his mom could have broken the news to him, told him gently, convinced him. But hearing the news like that, so matter of fact? There was no way it would just blow over now.

His parent’s voices sounded faint like he was listening to them from far away, but his father’s next sentence brought reality crashing down.
“You get your head on straight, boy. No son of mine is a damn fairy or a freak. Sort it out and come home normal. Or don’t come home at all.”

***

Even the cascade of icy water across his legs didn’t make him step back from the curb. The asshole driver probably splashed him on purpose, but Devon couldn’t bring himself to care. Two weeks of cold, hunger, and fear had taken their toll, and he felt numb, like he was floating just outside his body. The world moved with the same purposeful air as before, but it swirled around him without touching him. His stomach didn’t even hurt anymore. Only the cold was real.

He’d tried a stay in a shelter, but the packed sleeping rooms, the smell, and the prodding questions from well-meaning workers only made him feel more lonely and desperate. And that was before one of the other men had found out he was gay and tried to get him kicked out of the shared sleeping space. Between that and the one who’d offered him a prime bunk, in exchange for certain activities, Devon wanted nothing to do with it.

He watched the city bus trundling down the street toward him. It was moving at a pretty good clip. For just a minute, his tired brain tried to calculate how close it would have to be for him to step out in front of it. Wouldn’t do to guess wrong. He wondered dully if it would hurt.

A high pitched yipping interrupted his hopelessness. He blinked sluggishly at the fuzzy little mutt sniffing around his ankles. An irritated old woman tugged on the leash and pulled the dog away, but the spell was broken. Devon gripped the pole of the bus stop sign tightly as the big rig coasted to a stop right in front of him. No effing way, man. That was too close. He shook himself all over like a wet dog. There had to be another answer. He stared sightlessly ahead of him at the bus for a long minute before his eyes focused on what he was seeing. A colorful ad decorated the side of the bus. New Horizons Youth Center. The smaller print below the name seemed to jump out at him. No judgement, For support and resources, help and hope, look to New Horizons. If that wasn’t clear enough, the big rainbow, gay as hell and as tall as he was, felt like a beacon. Devon committed the address to memory as the bus belched black smoke and pulled away from the curb.

An hour later, he stared at the small, barely marked door in dismay. Lucky for him, Spokane’s downtown was laid out pretty logically, and he’d become familiar with some of the streets over the last two weeks. Unlucky in that, at 11 o’clock at night, the door was firmly locked and no light showed in the small window. Crap. The after-hours phone number didn’t do him a lot of good without a phone. Unwilling to make the long trek back across town to brave the shelter again, Devon tucked his jacket down as far as he could to shield his butt from the cold concrete and settled into the corner of the steps to wait.

A booted foot nudging his ankle woke Devon with a start and sent him scrambling backward up the stairs. Weak early morning light illuminated the shabby street and silhouetted a figure looming over him.

“Easy, tiger. I’m not going to hurt you.” The man that emerged from the glare was tall, blond and broad-shouldered without being too bulky. He spoke softly, like he was talking to a scared animal, and made no move to come closer.

“Come on inside and warm up. You should have rung the bell when you got here and saved yourself a cold wait.”

Bell? Devon looked around with bleary eyes, but when the big man opened the door and a breath of warm air greeted him, he gave up looking for the elusive doorbell. It didn’t matter now. He scooted warily around the guy and stepped over the threshold. He didn’t know if the place was the haven promised on the bus ad or if there was some kind of catch, but at least it was out of the cold. He could always split later, after he got warm.

There didn’t seem to be anyone else around, and the man held out a broad hand.

“I’m Eli, assistant director here. What do I call you?”

That was an interesting way to put it like he didn’t have to give his real name. Something about that made him want to. He swallowed hard and put his own cold hand out.

“Devon.” Eli seemed content with that and didn’t ask for anymore.

“Welcome, Devon. Why don’t you use the restroom here to clean up and then come on down to the kitchen at the end of the hall? I’ll make us both some breakfast.”

The man walked away without waiting for a reply and left Devon standing in the hallway, dazed and a little confused. Where was the catch?

Half an hour and a big three-egg breakfast later, Devon wasn’t any closer to figuring the place out. Eli offered him as much bacon and toast as he could eat to go along with his eggs, and after so many days of never getting enough, he could eat a lot. Once he finished, he was handed a stack of towels and clothes and chivvied back to the bathroom for the longest, hottest shower of his life. So far, there’d been no questions, no lectures, nothing but Eli’s soft voice making meaningless chit-chat that didn’t seem to require any response. Weird.

Coming out of the steamy bathroom, clean, warm and well-fed for the first time in weeks, he padded down the hall, silent in the thick socks he’d been given. He could hear Eli talking to someone from the common room opposite the kitchen. That deep voice sounded different than when he’d talked so quietly with Devon. Now it carried a note of authority that should have made him uncomfortable, but somehow didn’t. He knew it was rude to eavesdrop, but he wasn’t about to walk in there without getting the lay of the land first. Eli was apparently on the phone.

“Aaron, I know it’s early and you’re busy. I’m sure there are an untold number of fancy pastries just pining away for your amazing talents, but I need you down here. Pronto. …..Don’t give me that crap, my friend. You know I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important. You’re the only one who can do it. I’ve Seen enough to know there’s no time to waste….I know what I See isn’t always a hundred percent reliable but I’m telling you, this one is right on the edge. Get your fancy ass down here.”

Devon hesitated. He suspected Eli was talking about him, but the conversation didn’t make any sense. See? Eli said that word in a weird way like it was something special. He gripped his backpack in a white-knuckled fist. After everything he’d been through, he hadn’t been able to trust a stranger enough to leave his few belongings behind. He started easing quietly away from the door – but then Eli started laughing. Something about that easy belly-laugh made Devon want to laugh, too.

“Sure, brah. Make it quick and I won’t tell Ramón that I’ve Seen what you’re going to get him for Christmas. You can bring your stud along too. My cooking’s not as good as yours, but I imagine I can rustle up some breakfast for you guys.…. Thanks, Aaron. See you soon.”

There was a moment of silence in the other room.

“You might as well stop lurking out there and come on in, Devon.”

He ducked into the room, a little embarrassed at being caught listening. Eli didn’t seem pissed, though, and he waved Devon to a seat on the big sectional couch in front of the fireplace. Dev sank gingerly into the soft cushion, easing his backpack to the floor between his feet.

“I wanted to talk to you a little bit.” The authority in Eli’s voice had disappeared, replaced with a relaxed comradery that made Devon feel like he could get up and leave at any time. Somehow that was comforting, and he settled into the couch cushions.

He felt his fear dissipating as Eli explained that New Horizons was a shelter for LGBT youth, that it was safe, that they wouldn’t call his family if he didn’t want them to. He could stay as long as he needed. Part of Devon was yearning to stay, but a larger part of him knew he couldn’t stay anywhere forever. He didn’t have the fire thing under control. It was only a matter of time before something happened, and they had to kick him out or call the cops.

Eli leaned back in his chair.

“Devon, I see a lot of kids come through here and they all have different reasons for needing a hand up. I’m a little different myself and I know exactly why you’re here.”

Oh, shit. Devon gripped his backpack in a white-knuckled fist. Here it comes. Eli’s smooth voice kept going like he didn’t see a kid freaking the fuck out in front of him.

“I See things, kiddo. Sometimes I know what’s going to happen before it does. What I’ve Seen about you tells me that you need to talk to some very special people, before someone gets hurt.”

I don’t want to hurt anyone. Agitation put an itch between his shoulders. The heat started to press in around him. He could feel his breath getting short, feel the temperature in him rising when a cool hand landed on his shoulder.
“Let’s table this for a few minutes.” Eli looked out at him from kind, understanding eyes, which only made him feel worse. “Tell you what, I’ll take you to the laundry room. I’ll show you where it is and you can wash your old clothes.”

The heat within him felt contained, if not extinguished, as Eli led him to a small room just down the hall and showed him how to work the machines. He tossed his dirty, smelly shirt and pants into the washer and got it going while Eli checked his phone.

“Hey, I have to go deal with some things,” he said. “Why don’t you go into the common room and chill for a while. I’ll be back in a bit.”

Eli strode away, leaving Devon alone in the laundry room. The amount of trust they seemed to have in him already boggled his mind. He didn’t want to leave his stuff in the machine. It was all he had and if someone stole it, he’d be screwed. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything to do or read in the little laundry room. The bare, pale walls seemed to press in on him. He held onto his patience long enough for the wash cycle to finish, but that was enough. Once the clothes were in the dryer, he headed back to the main room. Maybe he could catch some Ru Paul – it felt like ages since he’d watched any TV.

Devon stopped short in the doorway. Lounging on the big sectional was a stranger. This must be the mysterious Aaron. There was no sign of the other guy Eli said he could bring, thank you, God. Stress and lack of sleep were taking a toll, and Devon felt like a wrung-out dishrag. Bad enough he had to deal with one do-gooder trying to fix him. He’d never be able to handle two.

The man caught sight of him and stood up. He wore jeans and boots, and the turned-back cuffs on his open shirt displayed multiple leather and metal bracelets around his wrists. Devon figured him for mid –thirties at least. He was tall and lean and looking at the stranger, Devon suddenly felt self-conscious in his borrowed sweats. A good thing he wasn’t filthy anymore because this guy sure didn’t look like he ever spent a night in a bus station. For an old dude, he was pretty hot. The man held out his hand.

“You must be Devon. Aaron Flores. I’m a friend of Eli’s.” Aaron spoke with that same soft, too-calm voice that Eli did like Devon was a wild dog that was about to bolt for the hills or bite off a finger. The man sat back down slowly and waved at the rocking chair across from him.

“I’ve talked a little bit with Eli and I have a pretty good idea what you’re going through. I think I might be able to help you.”

Yeah, right. Devon scoffed. “I doubt that, dude. You don’t know anything about me.”

Aaron merely cocked an eyebrow. “I know more than you think. Eli told you he Sees things, right? Mostly the future, not the present or the past, but that’s enough. There’s some serious trouble down the road for you if we don’t change some things.”

Devon recoiled. Fuck! He backed as far as the room would let him from the handsome stranger. His voices sounded shrill in his own ears.

“It’s not my fault! I didn’t ask for any of this! I never wanted it!” Is it getting warm in here?

Aaron crossed one ankle over his knee and leaned back on the couch like he hadn’t a care in the world.

“Take a load off, son. Have a seat and we’ll talk.”

Son? Son?! What a condescending bastard. The last thing he wanted to be was anyone’s son. Instead of sitting down like a good obedient boy, he threw his backpack onto the rocking chair, sending it tipping backward and crashing to the floor.

“I’m not your son, asshole! I don’t need another lecture on gratitude or humility or self-control or any damn thing.”

Devon felt it coming, heat welling up inside him. His fingers ached.

“I can’t call my stupid parents, so save your breath. My dad hates me and my mom thinks I’m a freak! I am a freak. A stupid, gay, messed up freak!”

The room was hot and Devon stared through shimmering heat waves at the arrogant jerk who hadn’t moved from his spot on the couch. Raised eyebrows were his only reaction to Devon’s rage. Smoke began to billow out of the trash can beside the door. Not another one. Devon tried to shut it down, calm himself down. It sucked that he had no idea how to do that. He could only run, again.

“I shouldn’t have come here. I gotta go.” Devon pelted for the door, only to run up against a hard arm that wrapped around his chest. He struggled, but Aaron was stronger than he looked. That voice was still totally calm.

“Take it easy, hotshot. I got this.” The heat, the budding fire, seemed to run out of him. What had been hot and sharp inside him suddenly felt muffled, like it was wrapped in wet towels. He stared at Aaron. Jesus, what …? The man’s expression was as relaxed as his voice.

“It’s alright, Devon. I know exactly what you’re going through. I can help you.”

The tears that had been pushed back by the anger came flooding out.

“I didn’t mean to do it, I swear. There’s something wrong with me.” Sobs choked him as he fell to his knees, praying he wouldn’t burn the plush carpet.

“You don’t know what I’m going through! You can’t. Nobody can!”

Aaron lowered himself to the floor, too. He held out both fists in front of him and opened his hands. On each palm burned a little ball of impossible, sourceless blue fire. Smoke unfurled from his hands, just as Devon felt the smallest tendril of hope unfurl inside him.

“Wanna bet?”

The End

for now…

Someday Devon will get a full-length novel of his own, and we’ll help him find his own Happily-Ever-After. In the meantime, you can find Aaron’s story, Sweet Fire, in paperback and e-book, in all the usual outlets.

Resources

Family Acceptance Project

2012 LGBT Homeless Youth Provider Survey

  1. Ryan, C., Russell, S.T., Huebner, D, Diaz, R. Sanchez, J. (2009). Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes in White and Latino Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Young Adults. Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 123, 346-352.
  2. Durso, L.E., & Gates, G.J. (2012). Serving Our Youth: Findings from a National Survey of Service Providers Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth who are Homeless or At Risk of Becoming Homeless. Los Angeles: The Williams Institute with True Colors Fund and The Palette Fund.
  3. James M. Van Leeuwen and others, “Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Homeless Youth: An Eight City Public Health Perspective,” Child Welfare 85 (2)(2005): 151-170.

More about The Trevor Project

The following information is available on the Trevor Project’s website. We summarized here to showcase just a few of their amazing projects and resources!

Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.

The Trevor Project offers accredited life-saving, life-affirming programs and services to LGBTQ youth that create safe, accepting and inclusive environments over the phone, online and through text.

Crisis Interventions

Trevor Lifeline – The only national 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention lifeline for LGBTQ young people (ages 13-24), available at 1-866-488-7386.

TrevorChat – A free, confidential, secure instant messaging service for LGBTQ youth that provides live help from trained volunteer counselors, open daily from 3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. PT.

TrevorText – A free, confidential, secure service in which LGBTQ young people can text a trained Trevor counselor for support and crisis intervention, available Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. PT at 202-304-1200.

Suicide Prevention Trainings and Resources

Trevor Lifeguard Workshop The Lifeguard Workshop is a free online learning module based on The Trevor Project’s in-person workshop, which is listed in the SPRC/AFSP Best Practice Registry for Suicide Prevention. The Lifeguard Workshop webpage includes a video, a curriculum guide, lesson plans, and additional resources for educators.

Trevor CARE Training – This training for adults provides an introduction to suicide prevention techniques based on Trevor’s CARE model (Connect, Accept, Respond, Empower).

Trevor Ally Training – This training introduces adults to the unique needs of LGBTQ youth.

LGBTQ on Campus – These online, interactive training simulations for students and faculty in higher education are AFSP/SPRC Best Practices for Suicide Prevention and were created in partnership with Kognito Interactive and Campus Pride.

Step-In, Speak-Up – These online, interactive training simulations for faculty and staff working with youth in Grades 6-12 are AFSP/SPRC Best Practices for Suicide Prevention and were created in partnership with Kognito Interactive.

Model School District Policy for Suicide Prevention – A roadmap to help school leaders easily navigate ways to bring suicide prevention policies and resources to their schools, developed in collaboration with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the American School Counselor Association, and the National Association of School Psychologists.

Coming Out As YOU! – A pocket-sized guide to inspire critical thinking in youth who are questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Trevor Support Center – A resource where LGBTQ youth and their allies can find answers to frequently asked questions, and explore resources related to sexual orientation, gender identity and more.

PSAs – Our current public service announcements, “Ask for Help,” are available free of charge for TV, radio, website, social media, and print use.

Community Resources

TrevorSpace – A social networking community for LGBTQ youth ages 13 through 24 and their friends and allies.

Trevor Ambassadors – Local volunteer groups in select U.S. cities (Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.)

Trevor NextGen – Groups of young, motivated volunteers in New York and Los Angeles who raise awareness, develop leadership, advocate, and fundraise in support of The Trevor Project’s life-saving, life-affirming work.

Trevor Youth Advisory Council – This group of 20 young advocates, ages 16-24 from around the country, are trained by The Trevor Project to raise awareness about LGBTQ youth, mental health, and suicide prevention in their communities.

Trevor Advocacy Network – A way for Trevor supporters to take action to improve policies and legislation that protect LGBTQ youth.

If you are thinking about suicide, you deserve immediate support. Please call The Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386.

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More from the Authors Brady

Between Homeland Security’s Gifted Agenda and the bigotry of a fearful populace, having paranormal Gifts is a dangerous thing. Pyrokinetic Aaron Flores knows firsthand how difficult it can be to control his power. Still, he runs his bakery and never gives up on finding his Happily Ever After. When Aaron’s cousin asks him to check on her former EMT partner, Aaron’s chance has finally arrived. He’s determined not to let anything stop him from catching (and keeping) his man.

Ramón Del Rio spent three days at the tender mercies of HOMSEC agents when his former partner was taken. He wants nothing to do with a Gifted guy, but Aaron is nothing if not persistent. He’s a pastry chef after all, and the way to a man’s heart really is through his stomach. The physical passion they share is the icing on the cake. Just when Ramón decides that having Gifts might not be a deal breaker, someone close to Aaron decides his fire needs to be put out—permanently. Ramón will have to face his fears to save them both.

 

 

About the Authors

Shannen Brady lives in Western Washington with her husband and their two furbabies. When she’s not writing her latest sexy story, you can find her hiking, watching terrible SyFy movies and avoiding cooking of any kind.

Sarah Brady lives in Eastern Washington with her husband, dividing her time between her real life and the voices in her head.

Sarah and Shannen are a mother/daughter team and together they write paranormal romantic suspense. Previous books include Healer, Sweet Fire and Unexpected Gifts.

Sarah and Shannen love to hear from readers.Check out their website at www.sbradybooks.com, like them on Facebook at SBradyBooks or follow them on Twitter @sbradybooks.

 


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