Trevor Project to Operate Lifeline Call Center for Suicidal LGBTQ Teens from Harvey Milk Camera Shop in SF

575 Castro as recreated for the Gus van Sant biopic Milk.

Following concern from activists that the Human Rights Campaign was turning Harvey Milk's old camera shop at 575 Castro in San Francisco into a boutique, the Trevor Project announced today that it would be partnering with HRC to operate a Lifeline call center from the site:

"Today, The Trevor Project, in collaboration with the Human Rights Campaign announced a long-term partnership to operate a crisis and suicide prevention Trevor Lifeline call center along with an HRC Action Center and Store from the site of Harvey Milk’s Castro Camera. This exciting new partnership to harness Harvey Milk’s legacy at this historic location is thanks in part to the grassroots support of local San Francisco leaders, including Harvey Milk’s close friend and campaign manager, Anne Kronenberg. Cleve Jones, Frank M. Robinson, the Academy Award®-winning writer of “Milk” and Trevor Board Member, Dustin Lance Black, and David McFarland, Chair of the Board of The Trevor Project have each made statements in support of this new and exciting endeavor."

Trevor Said Jones: "It is wonderful that Harvey's message of hope will again emanate from the site of Castro Camera. He spoke often of our responsibility to our young people and experienced first-hand the pain of losing loved ones to suicide. The next time a frightened gay kid from Altoona – or anywhere – calls out for help, that call will be answered by a Trevor Project volunteer in Harvey's old store. I think he'd approve."

Jones had earlier been critical of HRC's planned use of the site as a boutique, as had former Milk speechwriter Robinson, who told the  Bay Area Reporter:"To start selling Harvey Milk coffee mugs, Milk condoms, whatever merchandise … for God's sake no. It is a cheapening of Harvey's image. Harvey essentially gave his life for the gay community and for anybody to go in there and make money off of his image by selling cheap trinkets, I am sorry that is a no-no in my opinion."

Robinson expressed praise for the new partnership today: “I can't think of a better – and more needed – use for the old shop.  In growing up, I had two gay friends who committed suicide and I myself had times when I contemplated it.  For all those who work with the Trevor Project, my utmost admiration and thanks.  I only wish you had existed when I was young, confused, gay and desperately needed somebody to talk to.  My heartfelt thanks and admiration for all concerned.”

Trevor Project Executive Director and CEO Charles Robbins adds: "Our friends at HRC will cover the costs of installing the call center, will prominently feature The Trevor Project signage in the HRC Action Center and Store, and will provide an internet kiosk for LGBTQ youth to access suicide prevention resources and connect to In addition, HRC will make a $10,000 annual donation for the next three years to The Trevor Project, whose mission is to build community and inspire positive change for LGBTQ youth."


  1. wylenvanyel says

    I would have thought working with local San Francisco based GLBT National HelpLIne would have been a better fit seeing how they’re already in the Castro.

  2. Brad says

    This is a much better use of this particular space and it keeps the spirit of what Harvey Milk stood for. HRC can still open a boutique, it just doesn’t need to be in this particular shop.

  3. says

    I wonder if Mr. Towle made any effort to contact people from HRC; their voice is missing from this piece. In real journalism, we would call that a selection bias.

  4. GraphicJack says

    Note… it still says there’s a store going in, not just the call centre, so the call centre is a “warm fuzzy” added on to the money grab that is the HRC’s merch store, in order to shut up people who have objected. The goal was to get rid of the store entirely, not share the space with something else. I’m happy they’re adding the call centre, but the store is tacky and they shouldn’t be opening one.

  5. ratbastard says

    They gonna be selling any HRC snow globes at this joint when it opens for business? HRC hoodies and Harvey Milk boxer shorts? Maybe they could stick the suicide hotline number on the bucket hats.

  6. justiceontherocks says

    @Alex – this is a blog, not a newspaper. In real journalism terms, we would call you an HRC troll.

  7. wylenvanyel says

    The Bay Area Reporter says:

    “The Trevor Project will not offer direct services out of the space, located at 575 Castro Street. It once housed Milk’s old Castro Camera shop and was the location of his campaign headquarters in the 1970s.”

    This doesn’t sound like a call center to me.

  8. Sugah says


    The LGBTQ kids are alright and can call themselves queer, questioning, gender queer or whatever they want. It’s all about self identification, sugah.

    Honey, please. An old skool femme queen like yourself should know better. Didnt you write that you “just don’t feel strongly male. I never have”??

    Sat down and stop trying to play hall monitor, sugah. Sat down!

  9. Elise Marie Myrvang Eikeland says

    Greetings from Norway!

    I came over this site when reading about The Trevor Project online. Personally I am very passionated by all of the work that The Trevor Project is doing especially their crisis lifeline.

    I know how it is to be discriminated for being a lesbian, to be told I am sick for loving another woman. Enough is enough there should be equal rights for all no matter who you are or were you live.

    I am running my own fundraiser on a site called Crowdrise, here you can see it: there are many teammembers supporting it from all over the world. I would love you to become a teammember to and help support my fundraiser to raise more funds for helping gay teens.

    Elise Marie