Calif. School Board Removes Hotline Tied to Sexual Exploitation of Children

In April 2023, Santa Ana Unified removed the Trevor Project Crisis Hotlines from all K–12 schools, as well as from counselors’ business cards. They did so because in February 2023, I and others showed the superintendent and board members screen shots from Trevor Space, an online chat site recommended to students through Trevor Project. The screenshots revealed Trevor Space could easily be abused by online predators taking advantage of naïve kids, especially kids in crisis. Trevor Space advertises itself as a place to meet LGBTQ friends. It says that it is an affirming international community for LGBTQ young people ages 13–24.

I also brought evidence of these chat spaces to the Pacific Justice Institute. In response, the law firm wrote a letter to the district superintendent and board members stating Trevor Space could be a serious liability issue for the school district. I saw Trevor Space chat clubs firsthand because I texted the number that was in my school’s elementary bathrooms. I pretended to be a child and said, “I’m unsure of my gender and scared about puberty; what should I do?”

The Trevor Project gave me a referral to Trevor Space. Trevor Project asked me for my age, but I did not give it. Even though it is supposed to be for 13–24-year-olds, Trevor Project never verified if I was old enough to access the website before referring it to me. In order to get into, I gave the date of birth of a 13-year-old. In a matter of seconds, I had full access to their chat clubs and online participants. I am in my 50s, so it is obvious that anyone can get into this space and have full access to kids.

The chat clubs I saw were startling. I saw a Witchcraft Club, a Furries Club, and a Gay Men’s Club with the tagline, “Let’s talk about boys!” I was also given access to Regressors Space (pretend to be a younger age/age identity), Guilt and Secrets Club, Polyamory Club, Nonbinary Pals, Roommates Squad, Chosen Family Club, and others. The organization Gays Against Groomers checked out Trevor Space and called it a “pedophile’s paradise.

I also saw a message in Trevor Space that said, “Ask Sam Brinton anything.”  Apparently, Sam Brinton is considered “an expert” in LGBTQ issues and advises students in Trevor Space. In reality, Brinton headed advocacy and government affairs for the Trevor Project in 2019. He identifies as gender fluid and uses “they and them” pronouns.

He is known to advocate for every sexual kink imaginable, such as bondage dominance, sadomasochism, adult babies, diaper lovers, puppy play, primal play, temperature play, degradation, and flogging. He teaches adult classes on how to safely choke one’s partner, use wrist restraints, harnesses, and other fetishes. Brinton was appointed by President Biden in January 2022 to be in charge of the nation’s nuclear waste for the U.S. Department of Energy, but was fired in December 2022 for stealing women’s luggage in airports.

Yes, this person mentors students through our schools’ online mental health resources!

Trevor Project claims to “save young lives” while placing kids who identify as LGBTQ in harm’s way of online sexual predators. This is very significant because CA Attorney General Rob Bonta quotes the organization repeatedly in his Alarm Letter to all California school districts to explain why lying to parents about students’ gender identity is necessary in order to “keep them safe.” But clearly, Bonta’s quoted resources (Trevor Project and Trevor Space) are “not safe” for students. So how could anyone trust his conclusion that deceiving parents is in their best interest? 

Bonta’s letter quotes Trevor Project’s National Survey of LGBTQ Youth Mental Health (2022) and lists the dangers of coming out to adverse parents. However, Bonta does not mention Trevor Project’s 2019 Mental Health Survey, which claimed the existence of over 100 sexualities. When I asked Trevor Project, in an email, to provide a list of the 100+ sexualities, they refused. I can only assume that the kink identities promoted by Sam Brinton are included. 

As an adapted PE teacher in 7 elementary schools in Santa Ana Unified School District (Orange County, CA), I am grateful that my district leadership trusts their own common sense rather than blindly trusting government officials’ recommendations of the Trevor Project. They followed the wise protocol of “better safe than sorry,” especially when it involved children entrusted to their care.

Read accompanying article: “Teachers’ Union Places LGBTQ Students At Higher Risk of Exploitation

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