When Carl Nassib reached out to members of The Trevor Project in March 2021, they knew it was a special, unique conversation, but they had no idea the impact and exposure it would eventually have on their foundation.
Three months later, when the Las Vegas Raiders’ defensive end suddenly put The Trevor Project — the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth — into the public eye, they were blown away by the outpouring of support it received.
“We are so grateful to Carl for lending his voice and bringing awareness to our mission to end suicide among LGBTQ young people,” The Trevor Project’s Vice President of Communications Kevin Wong told Silver and Black Pride. “You don’t realize the impact it is going to have. The headlines The Trevor Project made were more than just sports outlets. It was all over the world. The power of his message was impossible to measure.”
The afternoon of Monday, June 24, 2021 was predictably quiet in the NFL world. But we all know the NFL is rarely quiet, even in the offseason ... the league is a constant churning machine of news. However, late June is one of the quietest times of the year in the NFL as players and coaches take a short vacation before training camp starts in July, marking the start of another year.
Yet, in one out-of-the-blue short video from his family home in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Nassib thrust The Trevor Project — an earnest foundation committed to saving young LGBTQ lives by providing support through free and confidential suicide prevention and crisis intervention programs — into the world-wide news.
With that powerful 59-second video, Nassib made history by becoming the first active NFL player to publicly come out as gay. In addition to living his truth, Nassib shone the light on The Trevor Project by announcing his was donating $100,000 to the foundation to assist in his quest to help prevent suicide of LGBTQ youth.
“Studies have shown that all it takes is one accepting adult to decrease the risk of an LGBTQ kid attempting suicide by 40 percent,” Nassib said in the now-famous video. “Whether you’re a friend, a parent, a coach or a teammate — you can be that person.”
It was an astounding study in human courage, passion and generosity.
While Nassib’s announcement was major news, his donation to, and support of, The Trevor Project received nearly as much attention. Kevin Wong said the traffic to The Trevor Project’s website exploded by 350 percent in the immediate days after Nassib’s announcement.
Just as important to the exposure, was that many companies and individuals around the world donated to The Trevor Project.
“Whether it’s one dollar or five dollars, it helps,” Wong said.
The NFL celebrated Nassib’s historic moment by matching his large donation. Also, Booking.com donated $100,000 and Axe Body Spray donated an undisclosed amount, according to The Trevor Project officials.
The NFL even ran a ‘Football is Gay’ ad this summer in support of The Trevor Project.
When Nassib, 28, initially reached out, Wong and other staff members were excited for both him personally and for the potential exposure to The Trevor Project. When the video came out, they were pleasantly blindsided by his donation and the overwhelmingly positive response.
“It was so special he highlighted what we are doing,” Wong said, “And it was great to see his passion about it.”
Nassib’s support of the foundation simply wasn’t a one-time thing. Wong said he has been in contact with Nassib “several times” since June. Wong said Nassib has expressed interest in furthering his relationship with The Trevor Project.
“He’s really passionate about it,” Wong said. “I think he wants his involvement to go beyond donating and we’re excited about that.”
To illustrate Nassib’s commitment to The Trevor Project, the link in his Instagram bio is the link to donate to the foundation.
Nassib — who politely declined to be interviewed for this story because he wants to focus on the Raiders’ season — held a brief media session during training camp and gave his most expansive interview since coming out on the podcast of Las Vegas teammate Darren Waller in late September. In the 27-minute podcast, Nassib brought up his passion for The Trevor Project and it’s never-ending mission of preventing suicide of LGBTQ youth.
The light Nassib has shone on the foundation is incredible, Wong said. He noted that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13-24 seriously consider suicide in the United States annually and at least one LGBTQ young person attempts suicide every 45 seconds in this country. Furthermore, 42 percent of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. In total, LGBTQ youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers. Wong said if one adult shows acceptance to a LGBTQ youth, the chance of suicide decreases by 40 percent.
“It can be a coach, an athletic director, or a parent showing support that can literally save an LGBTQ young person’s life,” Wong said. “Carl’s story has really put this in the public light and will hopefully inspire people to be that one accepting adult.”
Wong said and he and his co-workers were touched by the testimonials of people on social media in the aftermath of Nassib’s announcement and he said it was obvious Nassib is making an enormous positive influence for The Trevor Project. According to more data from The Trevor Project, more than 80 percent of LGBTQ youth say LGBTQ celebrities positively impact how they feel about themselves. Wong said Nassib is clearly having that affect on LGBTQ youth.
“He’s just made a huge impact for us,” Wong said. ”And it has empowered so many LGBTQ youth that it may never have, had he not done this.”