Brad Altman and George Takei
Monday night at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in New York City, the Trevor Project held its 8th annual Summer Gala. Hosted by Alec Mapa, the entire evening was as entertaining as it was inspiring with a mix of individuals honored for their work with gay youth as well as musical and comedy performances.
The N, the network whose award-winning television shows Degrassi: The Next Generation and South of Nowhere have broken new ground in the positive representation of gay and questioning youth, received the Trevor Commitment Award. Receiving the award was Sarah Lindman, the Senior Vice President and General Manager of The N, who spoke emotionally about how including gay content in their teen-geared series has been a great place for gay and questioning teenagers to see that they are not alone as they come to terms with self-identity and sexuality.
The Colin Higgins Foundation honored three gay youths with their Youth Courage Awards. Kyle Rapinan, Perre Shelton, and Devon Bearden were each honored for fighting back and pulling themselves out of their respective abusive and discriminatory situations and are now thriving in their lives. In fact, Shelton received a standing ovation when he recited one of his powerful poetic works to the audience upon accepting his award.
The hilarious Alan Cumming was honored with the Trevor Hero Award for his endless work helping young people accept themselves for who they are and teaching them to be empowered, not hindered, by that self-awareness. Past recipients include Tony Award-winning actor Nathan Lane and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Cunningham.
“For a long time, I’ve admired the work of The Trevor Project and the support they give to America’s gay youth, so I’m really delighted and honored to be given this award by such a great organization,” said Mr. Cumming in a Trevor Project press release. “The Trevor Project really inspired me so this award truly is special, and I will continue to try and further their goals in my life and work.”
More pics and celebs after the break!
The evening also included a tribute to Randy Stone, who passed away last year of heart disease and produced the short film, “Trevor”. A short film was shown that not only honored Stone’s work, humor and endearing spirit but also included commentary from close friend Jodie Foster and “Trevor” producer/director Peggy Rajski and writer James Lecesne. Besides being responsible for inspiring the Trevor Project, “Trevor” won the 1994 Academy Award for Best Short Film.
Idina Menzel and Trevor Project executive director Charles Robbins
As for the entertainment, Duncan Sheik opened the show by performing “Don’t Do Sadness” from his Tony Award winning musical Spring Awakening, while Idina Menzel beautifully sang “I Stand” from her new CD of the same name as well as songs from Rent and Wicked. With both performers and their songs, the lyrics and emotions resonated strongly with the mission of the Trevor Project and the work that the honorees and everyone involved has taken on.
Sandra Bernhard performed stand-up act which focused heavily on politics, including the unjust flack Michelle Obama has received lately as well as her 10-yr old daughter’s devastation at Hillary Clinton not being the Democratic Presidential nominee. Bernhard’s sarcasm was perfectly balanced with the more emotional moments that came from the honorees and their work. Mapa also did a tremendous job as host of the event with his usual bubbliness and attempts to shock the audience with his off-color humor.
The Trevor Helpline was established in 1998 and became the first national, 24-hour, 7-days-a-week, toll-free crisis and suicide prevention helpline for gay and questioning youth. For more information on the organization, go to the Trevor Project website.
All Photos courtesy of The Trevor Project.