Inside: Sam’s LGBTQ story of survival

Through TMI Project’s week-long intensive workshop and culminating Off-Broadway performance Life Lines: Queer Stories of Survival, Sam (they/them) shared the details of the anguish and despair they felt growing up bisexual and gender fluid in a Southern Baptist family and the torture they faced in conversion therapy with astounding bravery, candor and self-awareness. LGBTQ youth who hear Sam’s story will have a new sense of hope, know they’re not alone and that survival is possible. Watch Sam’s full story.

With your help, we can finish shooting and complete production on our forthcoming documentary about Life Lines.Our Goal? We will use these stories to inspire the world to be a safe and welcoming place the next generation of LGBTQ youth.

We’re 25% of the way to reaching our annual appeal goal of raising $25,000 by December 31st. With YOUR help we have raised over $6,000 since November 27th. THANK YOU if you’ve already donated. If you haven’t yet, please help us reach our goal by making a gift today.

If you believe in the power of storytellers as agents of change, and in the importance of amplifying the voices of populations whose stories often go unheard, please donate now and help us reach our goal of raising $25,000 by December 31st.

Together, we can change the world, one story at a time.

Stay tuned to hear from more participants whose lives have changed from their work with TMI Project! Next up, Beth from Vicarious Resilience…

A Message about Life Lines from Trevor Project’s James Lecesne [Video]

In the 20 years since The Trevor Project launched its life-saving suicide prevention and crisis intervention lifeline for LGBTQ youth, they’ve helped thousands of young people across the country. But they have never collected stories from those that have used the service.

The Trevor project and TMI Project came together in 2018 to do just that: to locate the people, to hear their stories of survival, and to help them to write and share those stories with the world.

Watch the video below to hear a special message from Trevor Project’s co-founder James Lecense, and to meet a few of the courageous storytellers who will join us on stage for Life Lines: Queer Stories of Survival on Nov. 5th!




Life Lines: Queer Stories of Survival
Monday, November 5th, 2018, 7pm One Night Only!
The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 W. 42nd Street, NYC

Get Your Early Bird Tickets ($25 off) for Life Lines: Queer Stories of Survival!

Life Lines: Queer Stories of Survival
November 5, 2018, 7pm
The Irene Diamond Stage at the Pershing Square Signature Center
New York, NY

    In honor of The Trevor Project’s 20th anniversary, a cast of 11 LGBTQ storytellers from around the country, selected from a nationwide call for stories, will take part in a TMI Project true storytelling workshop this November led by Academy Award-winner James Lecesne alongside TMI Project Co-founders Eva Tenuto and Julie Novak. Life Lines: Queer Stories of Survival is the culmination of that work.

    The production will feature inspiring true personal stories of triumph in the face of suicidal attempts or ideations with a goal of raising awareness about the importance of The Trevor Project Lifeline and similar suicide prevention services.

    Suicide prevention is personal to me

    My heart goes out to Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain and all people struggling and sometimes losing their fight with depression, the invisible disease.

    Before I recovered from active alcoholism and was properly treated for clinical depression, I spent years struggling with suicidal ideation. It started when I was 11 and relentlessly played in the background of my mind until my early 30s, sometimes at a quiet hum, other times screaming for attention. The pain was unbearable. The desire for relief outweighed any thoughts of the future. I’m grateful I had support from family and friends as I struggled to find the right combination of treatments to finally get relief from my depression. I know I am lucky to be alive. My personal background fuels my dedication to creating effective suicide prevention programs.

    We know suicide is on the rise in every state nationwide. Depression and addiction are not the only contributing factors. Living in the face of hatred and oppression and other life circumstance can play a part. Regardless of what’s inspiring our thoughts, the message is clear: it remains taboo to talk about suicide. But, this issue is reaching epidemic proportions and silence can be deadly. We need to talk openly about surviving thoughts of suicide so others who may still be struggling know they aren’t alone, and if they hold on, they can find relief.

    Research shows that celebrity suicides can inspire “copycats” or suicide contagion. At TMI Project, we feel it’s our responsibility to generate positive contagion through true storytelling. We know our personal stories have the power to eradicate stigma, take people out of isolation and inspire hope in others. In the wake of all the sad news last week, we are expanding our search for stories from LGBTQ people who have a personal story to tell about suicide. TMI Project and The Trevor Project are teaming up to bring a group, all expenses paid, to NYC in November for a memoir writing and storytelling workshop, which will culminate in a public presentation aimed at spreading the power of positive contagion.

    If you have a story of survival and courage, join us. Inspire the next generation of young people to live their lives, no matter what the circumstances.


    If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call one of the numbers below:

    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
    The Trevor Project Lifeline: 866-488-7386
    Mental Health Association in Ulster County: 845-339-9090

    In gratitude,
    Eva Tenuto
    Co-founder & Executive Director, TMI Project

    Why TMI Project’s Partnership with Trevor Project Matters So Much to Me

    Blake Pfeil (he/him), Operations and Digital Coordinator

    Ever since TMI Project announced its upcoming collaboration with the Trevor Project this coming November, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about Nick.

    I mean, if I’m going to be completely honest, I’ve always thought a lot about Nick. I tell myself, Well, yes, Blake, it’s hard not to think about your ex-boyfriend.

    He was your first love.

    And he committed suicide this past September.

    Obviously you think about him a lot.

    More recently, my preparation for TMI Project’s partnership with the Trevor Project has got me thinking about Nick even more. TMI Project and the Trevor Project have put out a national call for submissions to celebrate the Trevor Project’s 20th Anniversary (20 years of monumental, pioneering contributions to the LGBTQIA community). We’re on a quest to find stories from people who have been affected, changed or saved by a call to the Trevor Project Suicide Lifeline in the past 20 years. This November, 8 participants will be given the incredible opportunity to take a TMI Project true storytelling and memoir development workshop in NYC alongside Trevor Project Founder Celeste Lecesne (did I mention he’s an Oscar-winner?) and TMI Project co-founders Eva Tenuto and Julie Novak– which will culminate in a live performance off-Broadway. (And most importantly, for participants chosen from outside of NYC, transportation room and board costs will be covered.)

    My role at TMI Project has given me the privilege of doing all sorts of outreach to LGBTQIA organizations across the country. The more I chat with leaders, staff, and board members working tirelessly at community centers, youth shelters, and LGBTQIA foundations across the nation, the more I realize that Nick and I never really talked about his mental health. It was this awkward, unmentionable elephant in the room, this dark cloud constantly loomed over him and filled him with so much anguish and shame. I always worked my hardest to be there for him in those split-second-shift moments where he’d go from sunny to lightning stormy in a matter of seconds– but try as I might, reaching him during those spells was impossible. Of course it was. I was 20 and in no way equipped to deal with the severity of his illness.

    Even after we finally broke it off completely, I’d check in on Nick from time to time, through friends, making sure he was okay. Then one day he reached out to me to apologize for all that had happened between us. He knew I was in New York, and I agreed to meet him. We met on the Upper West Side at some pub. We’d both gotten sober. After our meal, during which the apology came and was accepted, we took a walk in Central Park and talked and laughed and dreamed together. It was the perfect day.

    Nick, I think about that day a lot. I think about the fact that you never felt like you had someone to go to so you could tell your story. You didn’t know that you had access to tools to beat this thing, this mental illness which claimed you. It makes me really sad, of course. I almost can’t believe it. Sometimes I still hear your laugh. It’s packed away in the suitcase in my head, where I stored everything you gave me, our whole story.

    Your story, in all its complexities, the one you never felt like you were allowed to share, is safe with me. And as the summer ends and fall comes and when the 8 brave storytellers take to the stage in NYC on November 5th to share their own personal stories of struggle and triumph, I’ll be thinking of you. I’ll imagine that you’re in the audience next to me, cheering those courageous souls on who, in some way, at least in my mind, stepped forward to share their survival stories, to honor yours.

    Click here to learn more about TMI Project’s partnership with The Trevor Project and how you can apply to join us in NYC for a storytelling workshop and performance this fall.