Derrick Martin, the gay teenager from Georgia who was inspired by the anti-gay prom cancellation story out of Mississippi and asked to bring another boy to prom, has turned his experience into a project to help other LGBT youth in crisis. Readers may remember that while his prom request was approved by the School Superintendent, due to the intense media coverage Derrick was kicked out of his home by his parents.
Now Martin has used that as an impetus to help others. He has teamed up with the Trevor Project and other groups to create Project LifeVest, an organization meant to assist LGBT youth facing discrimination after they come out:
"My situation and the attention it has drawn have provided me a unique perspective and opportunity that I feel I cannot pass up," Martin noted. "Young people who, like myself, have been disadvantaged because of discrimination, hate, or ignorance need somewhere to turn for help. GLAAD was my life vest, and I plan to be a life vest to as many others as I can. I only want those who face obstacles like mine to know that they are not alone, for everyone has the right to love regardless of sexual orientation."
Project LifeVest is an amazing idea that fills a much needed void in the community:
Project LifeVest's mission is simple: "To be a helping hand, a life vest, to as many LGBT teens and adults as possible. We will carry out this mission through the establishment of safe places in as many cities as possible; through a call center with a qualified team of counselors who can give advice where needed; through screening a network of families who can, when need arises, host rejected teens while they finish schooling or find a new home."
Teaming with an amazing group like the Trevor Project, which runs the nation's only accredited 24 hour crisis hotline for LGBTQ youth, and creating a network of places for teens that are kicked out of their homes is an amazing idea. Young people are coming out at much younger ages these days and too often these youth are left with no options and nowhere to turn. Hopefully, Project LifeVest will help change that.
For Derrick Martin to turn the hard and painful situation he went through into something that will help so may other kids speaks to his strength and determination. It also gives me hope for the next generation of young leaders who are coming up and fighting for equality.
Project LifeVest is accepting donations, so help support this much needed service and show your gratitude to a new, young, passionate voice for at-risk youth like Derrick Martin.