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Peggy Rajski never pictured herself as the 'straight, white, godmother of a gay suicidal hotline'

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Delia Giandeini
For LGBTQ youth, having an accepting adult can reduce the risk of suicide according to Peggy Rajski.

In 1998, the Oscar-winning director launched the first nationwide crisis line for LGBTQ youth.

According to a survey conducted by The Trevor Project, "42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year."

Peggy Rajski is the Academy Award-winning director of the live-action short "Trevor." It was after filming the story about a boy who is ostracized by classmates as he explores his sexual identity that Rajski cofounded The Trevor Project in recognition of the need for a network of dedicated counselors with expertise in aiding LGBTQ persons with the pressures they face.

The project, launched in 1998, receives 200,000 calls annually, according to Rajski. She was in the call center as the phones started ringing, recalling the moment as "powerful."

"To really be witnessing the need. You know, it wasn't intellectual anymore. It wasn't a bunch of statistics. I was seeing people in action, helping other people who needed help," said Rajski.

Peggy Rajski will be the keynote speaker at the UMKC Pride Breakfast, 7:30 - 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, Apr.il 27 at the Swinney Recreation Center, 5030 Holmes St., Kansas City, Missouri 64110. For registration contact rudolphk@umkc.edu or 816-235-1563

Peggy Rajski will be the featured speaker at SAVE Inc.'s No Place Like Home 2022, 5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Thursday, April 28 at The Abbott, 1901 Cherry St., Kansas City, Missouri 64108.

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