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

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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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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.
Elizabeth Ruiz is a freelance producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact her at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz