Jaymes Black

Jaymes Black Takes Helm as The Trevor Project’s First Black and Nonbinary CEO

The Trevor Project, a leading LGBTQ youth suicide prevention organization, has appointed Jaymes Black as its new CEO. Black, 49, makes history as the nonprofit’s first Black and first nonbinary chief executive.

This groundbreaking appointment comes at a crucial time for LGBTQ youth rights and mental health.

A Trailblazer with Lived Experience

Black brings a wealth of personal and professional experience to their new role. Growing up in 1990s South Texas, they faced discrimination and isolation after being outed in high school. This experience led to Black dropping out, a struggle that resonates with many LGBTQ youth today.

“As bad as my story sounds, I can’t imagine what our youth are going through today,” Black reflected. Their journey from high school dropout to corporate success and nonprofit leadership informs their approach to advocacy and support for LGBTQ youth.

Addressing the Current LGBTQ Youth Crisis

Black’s appointment comes amid a surge in anti-LGBTQ legislation across the United States. As of July 2024, state lawmakers have introduced 527 bills targeting LGBTQ people, particularly trans youth. This political climate has severely impacted LGBTQ youth mental health.

Recent data from The Trevor Project highlights the urgency of their mission. A 2022 poll found that 86% of trans and nonbinary youth reported negative mental health effects from recent legislative debates. Moreover, the organization’s 2023 survey revealed that 41% of LGBTQ young people seriously considered suicide in the previous year.

From Corporate America to LGBTQ Advocacy

Black’s career trajectory shifted during the COVID-19 pandemic. They decided to leave corporate America to pursue work more aligned with their values. This led to their role as CEO of Family Equality, where they championed LGBTQ families’ rights.

Their experience with Family Equality, particularly organizing the largest LGBTQ family gathering in Provincetown, Massachusetts, shapes their vision for The Trevor Project. Black aims to create widespread safety and acceptance for LGBTQ individuals and families beyond isolated safe havens.

A Vision for Inclusive Support and Protection

As CEO, Black sees the importance of understanding and relating to LGBTQ youth experiences. They plan to lead with empathy, drawing from their own challenges and triumphs. “I want to be a part of creating a safe America,” Black stated, outlining their broader vision.

Black’s leadership promises to bring fresh perspectives to The Trevor Project’s vital work. Their commitment to protecting LGBTQ youth transcends politics, focusing on creating a more inclusive and supportive society for all.