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Anderson Cooper talks about bullying: “The fact that 11 year olds are hanging themselves is unacceptable.”

anderson_cooper_01.jpg anderson cooper image by monkeybelle276I’ve been happy to see Anderson Cooper 360 focusing on the bullying epidemic in recent days.

Host Anderson Cooper will hosting a town hall special on Friday night at 10 p.m. on CNN (in conjunction with People Magazine and Cartoon Network).

He speaks to People about the special in the current issue about why he wanted to do the special:

“Bullying is not just in schools anymore,” he said. “It is after school, at night in social media networks and on mobile devices. It’s a 24-hours-a-day thing now.”

Anderson  the purpose of the town hall is “to bring different parties together – kids, experts and school administrators – to look at ways to solve the problem. We also want to look at the health impact on kids. The fact that 11 year olds are hanging themselves is unacceptable.”

Anderson, 43, was not himself bullied as a kid.

“I was very lucky,” he said. “I was friends with enough groups that I wasn’t bullied. But I remember moments when someone was unkind to a kid who had a stutter. To this day it sickens me. i saw it happening and didn’t stop it. That’s just as bad as [bullying].”

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Video: Ricky Martin, Elton John, Wanda Sykes and others want you to know that “We Give A Damn”

I saw this video previewed during Larry King Live last night and am glad to see so many famous folks stepping up to speak out against bullying.

This video is from Cyndi Lauper’s We Give A Damn campaign (A project of her True Colors Fund) which is aimed at stopping the hate. Lending their support are Ricky Martin, Elton John, Wanda Sykes. Idina Menzel and Rachel Harris.

http://www.ontopmag.com/images/ArticleImages/cyndi_lauper_drapped_in_rainbow_flag.jpgCyndi says in a statement: “We as parents, as people, as a nation need to stand up and say enough is enough. We will not tolerate hate any longer. Hate is learned and we need to teach our children that being different is okay. The best way we can do that is to lead by example and treat others with dignity and respect. No one should ever be bullied or harmed in any way because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, ethnicity or anything that someone labels another as ‘different.’ Hate is a lose lose situation and its time that things final change.”

Here are some facts:

*** In the U.S. one hate crime takes place approximately every hour of every single day. In 2008, the most recent year in which such data is available, 7,783 incidents of hate crime were reported to the FBI.1 out of every 6 of these hate crimes is committed on the basis of sexual orientation.

*** Gay men and lesbians are the third most targeted group for hate crimes of the ones that are actually reported. It is widely believed that these numbers are significantly higher, as victims of hate crimes based on sexual orientation are afraid to report the crime to authorities.

*** Hate crimes can happen anywhere, at any time. They are dehumanizing, willful acts of bigotry perpetrated with the intent to intimidate. They may range from harassment and physical intimidation to beatings, rape, torture —even murder. Perpetrators commit these horrific acts to intimidate and terrorize a community, and to send a message about the victim and “their kind.”

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Out soap star Thom Bierdz shares this message: “I want to help people see their pain, so the bullying stops”

http://images.soapoperanetwork.com/actors/b/thom_bierdz_04.jpgThom Bierdz, who plays Phillip Chancellor III on The Young and the Restless, is a also a gifted artist who has deep concern about the recent rise in gay suicides.

“This is especially relevant since I am from Wisconsin, my gay soap opera character Phillip Chancellor III is from Wisconsin, and there were two teenage gay suicide incidents in Wisconsin this week – one who died, one who tried,” the actor said in a message today. “Gay teens are four times more likely to take their lives – because they feel ashamed and alone.”

“I want to help people see their pain, so the bullying stops.”
Thom says he is familiar with the loneliness and anxiety that can accompany being gay and he talks in this video about how painting helps him channel his pain. He encourages people to paint about what it is like being a gay teen today and enter the American Arts Awards for free.

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Dazzling Margaret Cho dedicates her “Dancing With the Stars” performance to LGBT equality


Who cares if the judges gave her the lowest score of the night? I loved Margaret Cho’s performance on Dancing With the Stars this week and i just hope she gets enough votes to dazzle us again next week.

Wearing a costume the colors of the rainbow flag, Margaret and partner Louis van Amstel danced a spirited samba to Barry Manilow’s Copacabana.

Margaret talked about the recent spate of gay suicides in the filmed segment preceding her performance. After she said: “It’s a tough time for the gay community. A lot of gay teenagers have committed suicide, so we want this to end now!”

The dances were supposed to tell a story and when the judges asked what story her dance told Margaret explained: “The story is about having pride while people [are] criticizing you.”

She later remarked: “This is the gayest thing that I think has ever happened here!”

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Happy Birthday to Thomas Roberts!

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http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Picture-23.pnghttp://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/files/original/thomasroberts_3-26.jpgThomas Roberts, the out newsman who has recently anchoring on MSNBC, turns 38 today!

Thomas, a former CNN Headline News anchor who also did a stint as a correspondent for The Insider, has also been a part of The Advocate: On Air and sat in as a guest host during the summer on The View and actually managed to get a word in edgewise!

I’ve always admired Thomas’s work and like him personally so I hope this is a very happy birthday for him.

I think it’s so important that he is not afraid to bring a gay perspective to stories when he feels it’s appropriate.

Keep up the good work Thomas!

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Tuesday Morning Man: Skeet Ulrich!

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_pHdjvx_CypI/R6T45XYVsyI/AAAAAAAADjk/wwLTDkbNyIk/s400/132025900-M.jpgChecked out the debut of Law & Order: Los Angeles last week and am not still completely sold.

But I’m willing to stick with it for now because I was completely sold on Skeet Ulrich who portrays LAPD Detective Rex Winters on the show.

Skeet, probably best known for his role as Jake Green in the CBS drama Jericho, first burst onto the scene opposite Wynona Ryder in Boys then quickly followed that up by landing one of the lead roles in Scream.

He went on to star on The Newton Boys with Matthew McConaughey and Ethan Hawke and starred in the American Civil War drama Ride With the Devil directed by Ang Lee.

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Reichen Lehmkuhl talks about life in New York City and on “The A List” which premieres tonight on Logo!

http://www.advocate.com/uploadedImages/ADVOCATE/NEWS/2010/2010-03/2010-03-10/Reichen_LehmkuhlX390.jpgReichen Lehmkuhl first came into the public eye when he and then-partner Chip Arndt won The Amazing Race as an openly gay couple. They later split and Reichen famously dated Lance Bass at the time when the former NSync singer came out publicly.

Reichen has written a book (Here’s What We’ll Say) and dabbled in acting (Dante’s Cove on Here! TV and the off-Broadway play My Big Gay Italian Wedding) and has now circled back to reality television as one of the stars of the new Logo series The A List which premieres tonight at 10 p.m. (EST).

He talked to Socialite Life about the new show and how it came about. Here is an excerpt:

SL: How did you end up getting involved with The A List?
Reichen: Actually, it was a year ago in October, I was asked if I was willing to move to New York to do this show and at the time I couldn’t just take off from Los Angeles, so I said “no”. And then, this year I put on my Facebook that I was moving to New York to do an off-Broadway play and the same casting director saw it and asked me if I would come in and do an interview for the same show, because they still hadn’t cast it yet and they still wanted to do it. So I came in and they put me on tape for Logo and then, three days later, they called me and said they’re going forward with this show and they wanted me. It’s pretty cool.

http://www.boxers-or-briefs.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Reichen-Lehmkuhl-black-briefs.jpgSL: What is it about New York that is so appealing?
Reichen: Well, you know I always said up until this past April, when I moved here to do the play, that I loved New York City to visit, but I could never live there. And then, it’s crazy, once you get an apartment here and you have a job here, and you feel a little settled and safe, it’s amazing (laughs). You walk out your door and everything’s at your fingertips. You can have anything you want, meet anyone you want at any hour of the day. There’s so much energy here and people are so eager here to talk and get to know you and exchange ideas and I think people are very open here, compared to LA. People in LA are very nice but I think there’s a lot of pressure in LA – and I kind of fell under this too – to always say everything in your life is just wonderful because having everything in your life being wonderful is what you depend on putting out there to make sure you keep getting work (laughs). Where here, I find more people are open about the everyday s**t that goes on in their lives.

SL: A lot of the first episode revolves around your work on the play (My Big Gay Italian Wedding). Was that a fun experience for you?
Reichen: It was a lot of pressure, but it was amazing. I know the show is probably going to show my weakest moments, because that’s good TV, but I had to learn how to dance and learn to sing some of these songs and I ended up pulling through to the point where people told me, “Wow, you’re good at this and you can really do this.” It’s cool to have that feeling of accomplishment.

FILE UNDER: Out Stars, Reality

“8: The Morman Propo$ition” director Reed Cowan talks about plans to make film about anti-gay bullying

photoI had a chat with Reed Cowan, writer-director of the film 8: The Morman Propo$ition at the PFLAG event Friday night and asked what he was working on next.
I’m glad I asked!
Reed told me that just the night before, he had started working with and Dustin Lance Black (Oscar-winning screenwriter for Milk) and Charles Robbins (Executive Director of The Trevor Project) on a documentary-style film. (Black narrated 8: The Morman Propo$ition)
“It’s going to be made for television on this recent rash of suicides and trying to get this talked about,” he said. “This was the official meeting and now we’re going to start pitching it to networks. It will be documentary style.”
Cowan offered these details: “The film will start out inside the call center of The Trevor Project which gets some 30,000 crisis phone calls a year. So the film will start out there and we will profile some of the young people who called in crisis. Whether they called with a bottle of pills in their hands, a gun to their head, a noose in one hand ready to put it around their necks. We are going to give that pain a voice, we’re going to turn it into some purpose because this is a teachable moment in our world.”
He says the film has no working title yet but he will be the director.
“We’re going to do it as quickly as we can and yet we’re not going to go too fast and compromise our quality because these stories deserve production perfection,” he said.
http://nsa14.casimages.com/img/2010/07/15/100715065222900387.jpgCowan said he strives to have his work reach beyond like-minded people: “Somebody poted on my Facebook page: ‘I am a religious person, a conservative, a Republican and you made me think. You made me the world a little bit differently than I did before I sat down and watched [8: The Morman Propo$ition].”
“A lot of people say ‘You’re preaching to the choir and I want to say, ‘Which choir?’ Our film talks to a lot of different people and helped forward the dialogue of what happens when a religion gets involved in politics. It examines the question of do we want a theocracy or do we want a democracy in our country. And the thing that I’m happiest about are the young LGBT who are reaching out and say, ‘Thank you for giving a voice to the pain that I felt as a young kid because I almost didn’t make it. That means the world.”
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“Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe says he is “heartbroken” by the spate of gay teen suicides

http://hotcelebrity.name/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/daniel-radcliffe-harry-potter-premiere.jpgDaniel Radcliffe has been a staunch supporter of The Trevor Project and spoken out against bullying.

So the suicide deaths of several gay male teens in recent weeks has led the Harry Potter star to step-up his efforts, according to MTV News.

“Learning about the suicide deaths of Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Asher Walker, Billy Lucas and Justin Aaberg has been heartbreaking for me. These young people were bullied and tormented by people that should have been their friends,” Radcliffe said. “We have a responsibility to be better to each other, and accept each others’ differences regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ability, or religion and stand up for someone when they’re bullied.”

He also urged people to reach out if they believe a pal may be considering suicide.

“When a friend is feeling depressed or says they’re thinking of killing themselves, we must take it seriously and get them help,” he said before directing young people to the website of the Trevor Project, an organization he has championed that provides support for LGBT youth and runs a 24-hour crisis-prevention hotline.

Said Daniel: “My deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of these excellent young people. And to all the young people who are being bullied right now, you are not alone. Call the Trevor Lifeline at 866 4-U-TREVOR, because there’s always someone there who will listen and who can help.”

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Meryl Monday: Miss Streep smashes a freshly-whipped dessert in Jack Nicholson’s face in “Heartburn”

http://upcomingdiscs.com/ecs_covers/heart-burn-large.jpgI love the final scenes in Heartburn, the 1986 gem of a film directed by Mike Nichols and starring our Meryl and Jack Nicholson.

The script was written by Nora Ephron (adapted from her novel of the same name) and was based on the breakup of her marriage to journalist Carl Bernstein of All the President’s Men fame.

Meryl is Rachel, a food writer at a New York magazine who meets Washington columnist Mark at a wedding and ends up falling in love with him. They buy a house, have a daughter, and Rachel thinks they are living happily ever after until she discovers that Mark is having an affair while she is waddling around with a second pregnancy.

She leaves him but is eventually wooed back and they resume their lives which includes dinners with other Washington elite where the gossip flies fast and furious. When Rachel finds out Mark is still cheating, she publicly humiliates him at one of these dinners by smashing a pie in his face shortly after she has applied the whip cream to it.

Then she casually asks for the car keys.

We last see Rachel boarding a plane with her two kids no doubt heading back to New York where she will start life anew without the cheating hubby.

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Jake Silbermann leaves Noah Mayer behind as producer-writer-star of new indie flick “The Stuffer”

http://wwwimage.cbs.com/cms/files/images/daytime/as_the_world_turns/cast/dt_atwt_240_jsilbermann.jpgI’m a big fan of the We Love Soaps site for many reasons, one of which is that they snag really cool interviews with some of my favorite actors from the world of daytime soaps.

Editor Roger Newcomb recently chatted with As the World Turns alum Jake Silbermann not about the past, but about the future.

The young actor who was Noah to Van Hansis’s Luke for so many years has completed a short film called Stuffer. It’s about a female Sgt. who returns from the front lines of Afghanistan to her husband and daughter for fear that they will foreclose on their home. But she is coming home with a secret: She is smuggling heroin.

Jake acts in the film for which he wrote the script and was a producer on the project. It is currently being submitted to various film festivals around the country. Jake explains how the film came to be and what fans can expect from the project and also talks about what he’s learned from this experience.

“I’ve learned a lot,” he tells We Love Soaps. “I’ve learned that I like my voice as a writer. I want to continue doing that. I found it just as rewarding to be behind the camera working, helping in whatever way I could as a writer or producer, to help form a scene. It’s really gratifying to see the whole story take shape. I’ve learned how important a script supervisor is. In the production I wore different hats, as a producer, a writer and an actor. I found them each in their own way just as gratifying and just as interesting. I want to do them all.”

Go to We Love Soaps to see the entire interview!

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Ryan Murphy, Jane Lynch and others at PFLAG event speak to Greg In Hollywood about bullying epidemic

http://img2.timeinc.net/instyle/images/2010/gallery/083010-murphy-lynch-300.jpgSince PFLAG is about family and friends supporting members of the LGBT community, the series of teen suicides in recent days was very much on people’s minds at Friday night’s first-ever Los Angeles event.

[See my full report of the evening HERE]

I chatted with some of the stars on the red carpet about the bullying that led to the suicides and here is what some of them had to say:

Honoree Ryan Murphy, creator and producer of Glee: “I’m obviously very disturbed and moved by it. It’s weird because that is actually what the whole season of Glee is about: bullying and tolerance. Every year the show sort of has a main  story. Last year it was the teenaged pregnancy and the ripple effect on all the kids. This year we’re doing bullying and tolerance and the effects of that. All I can say is I think the goal of art is to educate of art is to educate and maybe change some hearts and minds and that’s what we’re trying to do on the show. The first episode of this airs this Tuesday and will continue the next seven episodes so it’s very timely, sadly so.”

Emmy winner Jane Lynch: “It’s way too many [deaths]. We adults, I don’t care if you’re homophobic or not, you’ve got to tell your kids that no matter how different anybody is, you don’t bully them. You just lay down the law there, you just don’t do it.”

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Reed Cowan, writer-director of the film 8: The Morman Propo$ition: “I think when we see the body count to the bullying that it should give anyone pause even people who don’t understand or like the LGBT subject.”

“These are young, vibrant beautiful people who have chosen death rather than life. And why? Why?”

“I look at this recent rash of suicides as the most sobering wake-up call that our nation has right now on a social level. And it’s time that we look at the photos of these young kids who came into the world as beautiful children and who left the world feeling anything but beautiful.”

“WE have to get going on this issue: Democrats, Republicans, religious people and non-religious people. We have to save lives. We are in triage time now and it’s time. It’s time.”

http://www.comicbookmovie.com/images/users/uploads/12499/ed%20harris.jpgOscar-nominated actor Ed Harris: “It’s nice for people to remember a thing that’s called the Golden Rule: do unto other as you would have the, do unto you.”

“It’s common sense and human dignity and respect for others. Today it can get vicious with the technology. It’s a little frightening. If you’re a 13 or 14 year old kid, your own sense of yourself is just developing. A lot of kids don’t have a strong enough sense of your own being to tolerate that kind of stuff.”

“It just tears you apart.”

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_MSTDut7N5ts/TJR_8BFnMJI/AAAAAAAAAeE/gbIIUBoDSIk/s1600/iqbal_theba%5B1%5D.jpgActor Iqbal Theba who plays Principal Figgins on Glee: “It’s just beyond me  why would anyone, anyone, dislike or hate anyone who’s different, who’s gay or different in any other way? Different religion. God knows when I came here back in the 1980s and I went to school in Oklahoma which is a wonderful state but I had some horrible experiences – racist incidents.”

“And I also happen to have some gay friends, some of them are very close to me. Every now and then they were harassed in the street and these are grown men in their 40s and 50s. It is so sad. I have no idea why would anyone do that?”

“Living in Los Angeles we tend to forget that not everybody is like these liberal people. There are parts of the country that are not as accepting of people who are different – especially gays. A show like Glee which is phenomenon I think it can definitely change things. I hope to God that more shows pick up on that and show gays as human beings.”

FILE UNDER: Controversy

Monday Morning Man: Amaury Nolasco!

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http://www.hot-list.info/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Amaury_Nolasco_02.jpgIf you have been watching the new NBC series Chase which has its third airing tonight, then  you have no doubt noticed the handsome actor Amaury Nolasco who plays Marco Martinez on the series.

Amaury had previously been a cast member on Prison Break and was in the first season on Southland before its move from NBC to TNT. He’s also known to filmgoers through his appearances in Transformers and its sequel.

The 39-year-old actor was born in Puerto Rico and studied to be a doctor at the University of Puerto Rico. But the acting bug bit and he moved to New York City to train at the American British Dramatic Arts School.

I was among the group of reporters who chatted with the handsome star at the TV Critics Assn. Summer Press Tour where he pointed out that both Prison Break and Chase were filmed in Dallas.

“I have experience trying to evade all those FBI agents who were coming after us and now I’m on the other side,” he said. “When I got offered the part, they said we’ve got a show for you there’s only one problem, it’s in Dallas. I said, “What’s the problem?” I call Dallas the best kept secret. It’s a beautiful town, the people are so warm with that southern hospitality. It’s hot but I’m from Puerto Rico.”

The actor said he loved being on Southland and being on it led to his current series: “I did an arc of three episodes and after that they got canceled for a brief moment and now they’re back and I’m so happy for them.  It’s an amazing show, it’s amazing cast. I had an amazing opportunity to work with Regina King who I adore. I have to thank them because working with them, NBC noticed and gave me this opportunity.”

He compared playing a good guy on Chase to playing a villain on Prison Break: “Breaking out of jail you get to be the villain and people say it’s more fun to be the villain. I have to disagree. I’m having way too much fun pursuing these guys. It’s a cast and mouse gamer. I’ve always not been a fan of procedural shows, they’re boring to me.  This is so not a procedural shows even though it’s got the blueprints. It’s a high octane show, impact, you buckle up, you’re in for a ride from the teaser all the way to the end. Run, run, run, trying to think three steps ahead of the villain.”

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Ryan Murphy and Lisa Cholodenko honored at PFLAG’s moving, star-studded national event in Los Angeles

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With all of the endless galas for various LGBT causes, it’s hard to believe that PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) National  had never held an event in Los Angeles.

That all changed in a wonderful way on Friday night where a wonderful event was held on the rooftop of The London in West Hollywood where PFLAG honored Glee creator Ryan Murphy with its television award and The Kids Are All Right writer-director Lisa Cholodenko with its film award.

It was a star-studded affair hosted by Modern Family stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet who kept the jokes coming throughout the festivities.

Among the other celebs on hand were Jane Lynch, Pauley Perrette, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, producer Dan Jinks, director Adam Shankman, producer Bruce Cohen, Thea Gill, Hal Sparks, Donna Mills, Jennifer Finnegan and Jonathan Silverman. David Permut, Daniel Sladek, and Chris Taaff were the event chairs.

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Jesse kicked things off by telling the crowd: “I’m really happy to be here for PFLAG tonight specifically because my dad is a PFLAG member.
Eric interjected with: “Tell them how many times you had to come out of the closet Jesse.”
Jesse explained: “I had to come out to my dad three times. I was caught stealing pornography when I was very young and the one upside to that was, ‘Oh good, I don’t need to come out to my dad, he knows.” So not the case. I had to come to him three other times. I would bring boyfriends home and he’d be like, ‘So, do you have a girlfriend.’ I’d be like, ‘Dad!” Then after Brokeback Mountain – my dad had a very adverse reaction to Brokeback Mountain – and my sister came out of the closet as well. He took it very well. She said, ‘I was afraid how you would respond to this, you know, with your reactions to Brokeback Mountain and then Jesse being gay.’ And my dad’s response was, ‘So Jesse IS gay.’ And then Modern Family happened and he kind of had this weird reaction. He told my siblings he just wished I didn’t play so many gay parts.”
Having had it, Jesse said he “went online and looked up the Albuquerque, New Mexico PFLAG chapter and I said, ‘Dad, you should look into this.’ And he’s been going and he’s now a member of the committee.”
Jesse also remarked how lot of people had been coming up to him and Eric and saying, ‘Modern Family is our favorite show.’ “We know you’ve been going up to Ryan And Jane and saying, ‘Glee is our favorite show!’ We’ve heard it. I actually just had somebody say it to me, turn around and say it to Ryan. Uncool!”
He then admitted that he too is a huge fan.

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Jane Lynch then took the stage and told the crowd: “I’m thrilled to be here tonight.”

The Emmy winner introduced a real-live glee club from John Burrows High School who maneuvered their way to the front and around the rooftop swimming where the event was taking place. They performed Vogue and Somebody to Love and Ryan Murphy later confessed that he was afraid someone was going to fall into the pool.

In introducing Ryan Jane said: “Ryan Murphy is not shy. No one writes character like Ryan Murphy. He’s never head-on or obvious which makes it fun to be an actor. Here’s a description of Sue Sylvester in the pilot script: “Sue Sylvester may or may not have posed for Penthouse and may or may not be on horse estrogen.’ Everything I needed to know as an actor was in that phrase. Ryan’s creation of Kurt Hummel, the gay fashionable soprano is a gift to kids gay or straight. Unlike gay portrayals of the past, Ryan tells another story, and as it turns out it’s a bit of his own story growing up gay in Indiana.

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Kurt is popular, Kurt has confidence. And if he has flaws, they have nothing to do with his orientation. Ryan says we’ll never make Kurt a victim. In Burt Hummel, we have a father who struggles so honestly to wrap his mind around this kid, a kid he was not expecting. He finds in himself the ability to love his son unconditionally. And because Ryan doesn’t step back from the emotional truth of this relationship, he performs and incredible service to the parents who sit down with their kids to watch Glee every week.”
She added: “At the time when we are hearing of one kid after another committing suicide, Ryan’s work here has become even more valuable. He’s changing lives and so many gay and lesbian kids have an uber cool and fashion forward role model to look up to.”

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Ryan gave his Sue Sylvester a big hug then told the crowd: “It’s my belief that every generation should concentrate on one thing and that is making it easier for the one following it. That is not only my goal with Glee, but it’s also been the goal in my life.When I was growing up, gay kids had two role models. We had Paul Lynde and we had Charles Nelson Reilly. And my grandmother was convinced about Rock Hudson even though I was not so sure. Things have changed. Now we have such wonderful out and about people like Jane, Chris Colfer, Adam Lambert, Ellen [DeGeneres], Neil Patrick Harris and now, kids also have Glee. Every TV season on Glee we have a theme … last year the topic de jour was teenage pregnancy and the ripple effect. This year on Glee we are promoting a single theme with hopefully wider implications and that theme is tolerance.”

“And in the spirit of this award, I want the young people assembled to know I think the most important thing we can do in this industry is not just write checks but educate and that’s what we’re trying to do with Glee. And it’s the gay viewers we are trying to reach, it;s parents who don’t understand the little Kurt Hummels living under their roofs and it’s the bullies who, at least on Glee, will be brought to justice and educated. On Glee the young gay people have a champion. Here we are adding to the television landscape three new characters who are gay who along with Chris Colfer’s Kurt Hummel will repeatedly and soundly and hopefully send a message out there that the coolest thing you can do as a young person is to accept the person next to you for who they want to be but more importantly, for who they are.”

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Next to take the stage was Dustin Lance Black. In introducing him, Jesse mentioned that he had auditioned for the film Milk but did not get a role. He lamented this fact but when Lance took the stage he joked that he had a role for Jesse in the sequel which, in a nod to the actor’s red hair, he would call Strawberry Milk.”
“It’s no secret that I love this organization. He told the story of Allen Baird who back in 1973 who lived in San Francisco. A union guy who owned a little camera shop who walked right up to Harvey Milk. He had been trying to do this boycott against Coors Beer and Harvey got the gays in San Francisco and California to join.

“Those two became friends. Harvey Milk and Allen Baird became great friends and Allen Baird hired the first openly gay union truck drivers in this state. Within weeks, a woman named Jeanne Manford, 3,500 miles away in NYC who had a son named Morton. Morty was gay and Morty wanted to go march in the Christopher Street Liberation Parade. she said, ‘You know what? I’m gonna march with you.” This was a really new, brave idea in 1973. This wasn’t happening. she set out to create an organization with the message that we as parents have to unite behind out gay and lesbian children and she formed this organization PFLAG to do just that, to bring allies to this cause. Harvey and Jean were 3,500 miles apart and had never spoken but they understood one thing: they knew that as a minority gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people could not survive and thrive politically and socially without friends and allies. They had to reach out and educate. I know that many of our mainstream organizations over the last decade strayed from that belief. We didn’t do as much outreach and education as we could have and we suffered at the polls for it. But not PFLAG. That’s why I love PFLAG. PFLAG is always, at its core, had education, outreach and gaining allies at its center. And they also know, even today, that they have to reach out to unexpected allies and that’s what they do. … They realize you cannot make this a red state. blue state, red-blue issue. This is not a political issue, this is a human rights issue and that is how history will remember it.”
Lance concluded by saying: “In politics people, they might align themselves with a political party and they might change. They might learn to love a candidate but then they might decide they don’t like that candidate so much anymore. But when it comes to equality, when you get a new ally on the side of gay and lesbian equality, they never leave. That’s the difference.”

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NCIS star Pauley Perrette was on hand to present the award to Lisa Cholodenko but first said: “I love PFLAG, I believe so much in this, I believe in civil rights for everyone. I believe in the women’s suffrage movement that the men who stood up for us were incredibly important. In the civil rights movement in the 60s people of every color and race and culture, stood up because they believe in civil rights were so important. This is our generation, this is our time. As a straight female, I want as loud a voice and as fast a talker as they’ll allow em to stand up to this.”

In accepting her award, Cholodenko confessed: “Having always kind of been on the passive side of political action and affiliation, more of a watcher than a joiner, I was never quite certain what PFLAG actually stood for or what it was doing or what it was about.”

So she went to Wikipedia. She read about how Jeanne Manford had marched with her son: “That really did choke me up and truth be told when I thought about it, the course of my life would not have been the same had it not been for that woman and others like her stepping up for her kids and helping change the tide of popular thinking around gayness.

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I’m grateful that I’ve lived in an era where I can live freely and openly as I have,. that I can start a family and that I could have a son and have an amazing partner and to be out in the public as we have and finally that I could make a movie like The Kids Are All Right and see it actually make ripples into the mainstream. More than ever I feel like it’s proud moms and dads and dads and dads and moms and moms who really make strong families and we need them to stand behind people and stand behind their children. Those families I believe really make a difference and it’s those differences that I think we so need in this culture.”

When the event chair Daniel Sladeck took the stage he explained how in In 1997 he David Permut and Chris Taaff met withPFLAG mom Mary Griffith while pursuing the rights to her life story told in their film Prayers for Bobby.

“Over the next decade we came top know Mary and her family quite well,” he said. “Following the suicide of her son Bobby, PFLAG was instrumental in her journey from Christian fundamentalist to gay rights activist. We promised Mary early on that we would do our very best to increase the visibility of PFLAG which ultimately led to the creation of tonight’s event.”

“In its 40 year history with 200,000 members and 300-plus chapters nationwide, PFLAG has never had a national event here in Hollywood, the hub of the entertainment industry,” he concluded. “We have a responsibility to make sure this organization is around for decades to come.”

PFLAG National President John Cepek also spoke about the recent suicides which had been very much on everyone’s mind: “Since the school year started 30 days ago, we’ve heard of six of these kids dying.”

He then mentioned their names and asked for a moment of silence.

“Stopping these kinds of tragic events is why I’m a part of PFLAG,” he told the crowd. “No more kids should feel that their lives aren’t worth living because they are different and no more kids should die because they feel there’s nothing in the world worse than someone thinking that they are gay. This bullying and harassment and prejudice must stop now.”

FILE UNDER: Benefits

Dustin Lance Black talks to Greg In Hollywood about bullying, suicides, media coverage and what needs to be done

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Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar winning screenwriter for Milk and a passionate LGBT equal rights activist, was among those who attended Friday night’s terrific PFLAG event in West Hollywood (I’ll have a full report on the event soon).

I got the chance to chat with Lance before the start of the event and was eager to get his thoughts on the tragic events of recent days including the suicide of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi who jumped off of the George Washington Bridge after his roommate videoed him having sex with a guy and streamed it online.

“There’s a few things that have been bothering me,” Lance began. “On the news shows they keep referring to it as gay sex and I feel like in doing that the news shows are sort of propegating the prejudice. This was a gay young man who was violated while having sex. There’s nothing shameful about gay sex, he should not be shamed by his roommate and he certainly should not be shamed by the media labeling it in such a way and inferring that there’s something negative about it or something he should have thought was negative about it.”

P1030766“Beyond that,” Lance added, “we have the issue of bullying. It’s a huge issue in this country and it’s tragic that this kind of thing has to happen for the nation to pay attention. We’ve been beating that drum for quite some time and it’s one of the reasons why I really love PFLAG. They do outreach and education, not just in areas where it’s easy. They reach out to unexpected potential allies, go into the red areas and make this less of a red-blue state divide kind of issue, less a political issue and more a human rights issue. I think that’s really the only way. Talk to these people, let them know who we really are, dispel those myths and stereotypes so that we’re not having another generation of kids growing up and being taught that it’s okay to treat these people as second class.”

The writer-director-activist also addressed how the perception these days is that things are easier for LGBT youth these days: “I think it’s gotten better in certain areas for certain people but it’s not better for everybody and let’s be honest. You just look to the government as one example. Leaving churches aside, the government just in the past few weeks has failed to step up and end discrimination in the military. They’ve time and again lost opportunities to protect people in terms of job discrimination. Time and again the US government is saying gay and lesbian people are less than, are second-class citizens. And what do they except young children to take from that? They take a message that its okay to treat these kids as less than. You see the tears of some of these legislators and I say, ‘Well, you know what? Get to work. Stop being hypocrites and stop treating gay and lesbian people as second class yourselves. You know, set an example.”

Well said Lance!

Video: Neil Patrick Harris has a message for gay youths: “Let me assure you, if you’re getting bullied … that it gets better.

http://hewholaughs.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/02-neil-patrick-harris-400a052807.jpgThe series of suicides among gay youths in recent days has been a real wake-up call for all of us. I’m so glad to see people like Ellen DeGeneres and Neil Patrick Harris taking the time to tape messages of support to young people out there.

“On the heels of a fourth kid who killed himself because of some anti-gay bullying, I heard that MTV was having people talk about it, and I wanted to get involved,” Neil says in the clip. “Here’s what I can say: When you’re young, when you’re in elementary school, when you’re in high school, it’s important to try and fit in and be accepted and to be part of the average. Everyone does it, that’s the way it goes. But let me assure you, if you’re getting bullied and feeling like you’re on the outskirts, it gets better. Because, when you get older, you find that people are actually drawn to individuals with different points of view who are proud of who they are and who make interesting and different and unique choices for them — at least I am.”

Neil emphasizes that there is no need to harm yourself when something is going bad in your life: “You can act with strength, you can act with courage, you can act with class and stand tall, be proud of who you are. This is a good time we live in, and we’re being granted more and more rights, and it will continue in that direction, and, yeah, be proud.

“But, for Pete’s sake,” he added, “don’t cut yourself or jump off a bridge. Please.”

FILE UNDER: Out Stars

Morning Man Classic: Tony Curtis!

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http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_6aEu6HmAQPQ/Rpd03j3llmI/AAAAAAAAGiM/X-xbjI4QflE/s400/Tony_Curtis_320x240.jpgSorry for the lack of posts this weekend. Your faithful blogger has been battling bronchitis and has been out of commission. But lots of sleep and some antibiotics seem to be doing the trick!

Today’s Morning Man Classic is the late Tony Curtis who died last week at the age of 85.

I saw him back in April on the red carpet at the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival in Hollywood. He was in a wheelchair but still had plenty of spirit and was enjoying every minute of the event.

I didn’t get to interview him that day but I just remembered we did speak nearly a decade earlier, one the telephone, when I wrote Stanley Kramer’s obit for The Hollywood Reporter. Kramer had directed Curtis to an Oscar nomination in the 1958 film The Defiant Ones.

That was one of several classic films in which Curtis starred during the peak of his stardom. Others included Some Like It Hot, Sweet Smell of Success, Spartacus, Houdini, Trapeze, The Great Imposter, The Great Race, Sex and the Single Girl, Goodbye Charlie, Operation Petticoat, and The Boston Strangler.

In later years he found steady work in television and earned an Emmy nomination for outstanding lead actor in miniseries for his performance in The Scarlett O’Hara War, starred in the short-lived series The Persuaders and McCoy and had a recurring role in the ABC series Vegas.

But he continued to make features throughout his career including Mae West’s final film Sextette in 1978, The Mirror Crack’d in 1980 with Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and Kim Novak. His final film was 2008′s David and Fatima.

In reading Curtis’s obits, I was struck by how much he clearly enjoyed his stardom even when he was no longer getting the best roles. He relished being a star unlike many who rose to his heights only to decry having to live their lives in a fishbowl.

Writing in his 1993 autobiography, he said he was able to handle the adulation of fans because, “I’d had that all my life, even before I got into movies; in school, in the neighborhoods where I lived, always a lot of furor. Everybody liked the way I looked, including myself.”

Don’t you just love it?

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Actor Tony Curtis Dripping Wet After Water Escape Trick in Scene  From
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Patti LuPone dishes about Andrew Lloyd Webber, Glenn Close and her dramatic “Sunset Boulevard” firing

http://projectqatlanta.com/images/uploads/Patti_Lupone_A_Memoir.jpgI’m still dying to sit down and get into Patti LuPone’s new memoir and an article in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly with the subhead: “Note to Andrew Lloyd Webber: Take cover!” makes me all the more eager.

Lloyd Webber may have given two-time Tony winner LuPone her star-making role in the original Broadway production of Evita, but he crushed the great star a decade later when it came around to casting the lead in the Broadway production of Sunset Boulevard.

LuPone debuted the role in London and was contracted to take it to Broadway but Lloyd Webber very publicly fired her and put Glenn Close on Broadway after she triumphed in the LA production.

Patti gives this major incident in her career “two whole raged-filled chapters” and probably would have written more had her editor ask her to tone that and other parts down: “One of the first notes I got from my editor was that I complained a lot,” LuPone tells EW.

Patti writes of Lloyd Webber’s “total disregard” for her and says: “I’m never going to work with him again. It was a cruel experience.” Of Glenn Close she writes: “Do I think Glenn Close was complicit in what happened to me? … What I do know is that from the time she was announced, I never heard from her.”

Of her diva reputation, the star of Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, Master Class, Anything Goes and the upcoming Broadway production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown says: “I never asked them to change the color of my wig or to kiss and wash my feet. I was always just asking for the things we needed to help us get on stage. It’s always been about the work.”

FILE UNDER: Uncategorized

Coco Peru speaks out about gay suicides: “I remember all too well the years of bullying that I silently endured.”

http://i.thisislondon.co.uk/i/pix/2007/08/032_16_Miss-Coco_243x234.jpgMiss Coco Peru, as we all know, can be very, very funny.
But this brilliant gay male American actor and drag performer, whose real name is Clinton Leupp, can also be quite serious and I had to share this entry from Coco’s blog posted in its entirety:
Thursday, September 30th, 2010 6:31 PM
Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Asher Brown, Billy Lucas, their names and faces have been swirling in my mind with a mix of both grief and anger. All four committed suicide within a month’s time due to bullying because they were gay or alleged to be gay.  What kind of world are we creating? I feel powerless.

Tyler Clementi
Rest in peace, Seth Walsh
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I look at their photos, at those beautiful sweet faces, and I want to go back in time. I want to reach through those photos and pull each of them into my world so I can sit with them and tell them that there is life after their teens, that there are people out there who will love and support you and raise you up and celebrate you. People who want to make this world a better place for you so that you can in turn use your talents to make it a better world for others.

http://www.toimg.net/managed/images/10034501/w310/image.jpgThis may sound corny, but I have said it for years that one of the reasons I wanted to create Coco was so that I could celebrate the very things I was taught to hate about myself so that future generations of gay kids wouldn’t have to go through what I went through.

In fact, my heart has soared more than a few times when I’ve gotten emails from teenagers, and one eleven-year-old boy, who have thanked me for being “out” and inspiring them to be themselves. However, today my heart sinks that these four young people fell through the cracks.

I remember all too well the years of bullying that I silently endured. I never told my parents, not once, that I was being called names like fag, homo, and gay. I was so afraid they would ask me if what the other kids were calling me was true.

I can remember trying to navigate new ways to walk to school so that I could avoid the kids that made fun of me. I remember praying incessantly to be spared going to hell for being gay as I was being taught at Catholic school.
Everyday was filled with anxiety and waiting for the next attack. This occurred daily from second grade on. It is for this reason I shut down, I was unable to learn, and basically was robbed of my education.
I can only remember twice in all those years, once in fourth grade and again in High School, where a teacher actually stood up for me.
I lived for summers as they offered a bit of a break from the daily abuse. I can remember lying in my bed, frozen with fear that I would always be alone, having to hide who I truly was, having to continue to make excuses as to why I didn’t want to date girls, that I would forever be made fun of because of my effeminate ways, my hard S’s, and big hips! I cried one night when I realized that the only one that I knew of that loved me unconditionally was my dog. And like a good friend she stood by my side as I wept.
Here is a LINK to the rest of this moving essay.
FILE UNDER: Uncategorized

“I Love Lucy” Friday: Ricky goes temporarily insane when Lucy gets him fired from his movie studio

http://togethertothetop.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/rickymoney.jpgLucy was just trying to help!

The zany redhead, frustrated that MGM had not yet cast Ricky in a role after his movie was shelved, takes matters into her own hands by pretending to be his agent and setting up a meeting with a studio executive.

She makes us some bogus offers as leverage but the studio ends up not wanting to stand in Ricky’s way and releases him from his contract.

This clip picks up as Ricky finds out this horrible news!

FILE UNDER: I Love Lucy Friday