Culture & the Family

Ray Carter | June 15, 2023

Which Oklahoma company funds group accused of aiding pedophiles?

Ray Carter

WARNING: This news story contains sensitive and graphic content that, although newsworthy, may not be suitable for some audiences.

Paycom is listed as a corporate “gold tier” sponsor of The Trevor Project. That makes it one of the biggest corporate financial supporters of The Trevor Project in the nation. Only 26 companies are listed in a higher tier of donors than Paycom.

The Trevor Project states that its “mission is to end suicide among LGBTQ young people.” But the group has drawn scrutiny for a chat service that independent investigations have concluded exposes vulnerable children to adults who may be pedophiles.

According to reports, the chat service includes adults discussing sexual fetishes with children, such as “gokkun,” the act of drinking multiple male ejaculations from a container, and more.

The Trevor Project offers an anonymous online chat forum, “TrevorSpace,” which is described as a service that allows youth to connect “with an international community for LGBTQ young people ages 13–24.”

“In some cases, adults in the chatroom have discussed sexual content with minors and encouraged them to withhold information about their gender transition from their parents,” National Review reported.

And the discussions go far beyond questions about sexual identity, according to National Review.

“In some cases, users under 18 spoke with adult users about sexual preferences, including BDSM and polyamory,” National Review reported. “In chats reviewed by NR, minors and adults discussed sexual fetishes, including ‘gokkun—the act of drinking multiple male ejaculations from a container, ‘bukkake’—the fetish of being covered with ejaculate, ‘scat play’—deriving sexual gratification from fantasies involving feces, and ‘forniphilia’—a form of bondage in which a person’s body is incorporated into furniture for sexual acts.”

TrevorSpace has also drawn criticism from another entity that has conducted reviews of the chat service.

Gays Against Groomers, an organization that self-describes as a collection of “gay people who oppose the recent trend of indoctrinating, sexualizing, and medicalizing children under the guise of ‘LGBTQIA+,’” has also lambasted TrevorSpace, labeling it “a pedophile’s paradise.”

“TrevorSpace markets itself as a safe space for LGBTQ+ young people to talk about their experiences with identity and peer/familial rejection, which sounds like a great idea,” Gays Against Groomers reported. “But browsing the website for merely a few minutes makes it abundantly clear what it actually is: an online dating service for children and people aged 13-24. No website or chat room of this nature should cater to minors, especially one that encourages them to talk to adults. Adults in their 20s regularly talk to teenagers about sexuality and gender transition on Trevorspace. Profiles specify whether the user is over or under 18, but there is no procedure to verify whether the user is answering truthfully. Not only is the website specifically for children and adults, but someone of any age can say that they are a minor and have inappropriate conversations with kids.”

The organization Gays Against Groomers has lambasted TrevorSpace as “a pedophile’s paradise.”

In its review, officials with Gays Against Groomers reported that many of the children in TrevorSpace self-reported as “autistic and most of them express that they are same-sex attracted.”

“The kids who use this predatory dating service have threads and forums about how the website has ‘too many groomers and pedophiles,’ yet the adults that they trust in their lives are telling them that it is a good source for social support,” the Gays Against Groomers report stated.

Paycom is among the biggest financial supporters of The Trevor Project nationwide and is the top Oklahoma-based supporter of the organization, based on The Trevor Project’s public listing of major corporate contributors.

Paycom’s financial contributions to The Trevor Project exceed the support provided by companies and entities such as Bank of America, Facebook, FedEx, Netflix, TikTok, Toyota, Walgreens, Warner Media, Yelp, American Express, HarperCollins Children’s Books, Prime Video, and Revlon, based on The Trevor Project’s website.

In August 2022, officials announced that Paycom and a foundation associated with Paycom CEO Chad Richison had given a combined $100,000 to The Trevor Project.

“This partnership is a continuation of our diversity, inclusion and belonging initiatives as we extend the equitable environment we’ve worked so hard to create at Paycom,” Richison said. “These initiatives are important to me, which is why I am matching Paycom’s gift with an additional $50,000 donation from the Richison Family Foundation.”

Troy Stevenson, senior advocacy campaign manager at The Trevor Project, praised Paycom’s “diversity and inclusion initiatives,” and said Paycom’s donation would “directly aid” The Trevor Project’s initiatives.

In January 2023, The Trevor Project announced the release of a documentary “elevating the stories of three transgender young people,” which the organization said was part of its “initiative to cultivate public awareness and acceptance of transgender and nonbinary experiences.”

The Trevor Project listed Paycom and the Richison Family Foundation among the donors and corporate supporters “who have contributed to this effort.”

Under Richison’s leadership, Paycom has been active in similar issues.

In March 2022, Paycom provided $50,000 to fund a lawsuit that sought to force the Oklahoma government to issue birth certificates listing genders other than “male” or “female.”

In 2021, Paycom announced it was the lead sponsor for “Advancing Oklahoma,” a program described as “a lengthy conversation about race and race relations in Oklahoma” that ultimately featured speakers who declared there is “a very high correlation between the most racist attitudes in America and white evangelical Christianity,” endorsed “defund the police” efforts, and declared football games at the University of Oklahoma involve repeated “celebration of white supremacy.”

Paycom did not respond to a request for comment on the issues raised about TrevorSpace by National Review and Gays Against Groomers, or whether those allegations will impact Paycom’s continued support for The Trevor Project.

Ray Carter Director, Center for Independent Journalism

Ray Carter

Director, Center for Independent Journalism

Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.

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