380, Some Stars Included, Turn Out for LGBT Youth

BY PAUL SCHINDLER | At a June 30 dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Columbus Circle, the Trevor Project, a non-profit that operates the only nationwide, around-the-clock suicide prevention helpline for gay and questioning youth, raised nearly $175,000 to support its programs. In addition to the helpline, the group, on its website, offers a confidential resource, “Dear Trevor,” through which youth can ask questions about sexual orientation and identity issues, and provides lifesaving information for parents and educators in identifying and assisting potentially suicidal youth.

The event drew a crowd of about 380, including numerous celebrities. George Takei, of “Star Trek” fame, attended with his husband-to-be, producer Brad Altman; they are pictured with two of the Trevor Project's founders, James Lecesne and Peggy Rajski, and executive director Charles Robbins. Idina Menzel (pictured with Robbins), who starred in the original Broadway cast of “Wicked,” entertained the crowd, as did Sandra Bernhard. Alan Cumming (lower left), whose many stage and screen appearances include his Tony-winning portrayal of the emcee in the revival of “Cabaret,” won the group's Trevor Hero Award.

A June 30 fundraiser for the Trevor Project, which operates the only nationwide, around-the-clock suicide prevention helpline for gay and questioning youth, raised nearly $175,000.

Another celebrity on hand was Gideon Glick (upper left), the 20-year-old actor who played the role of Ernst, an impressionable gay adolescent, in the award-winning Broadway show “Spring Awakening” when he was 18. A native of Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia on the Main Line, Glick said that he came out in seventh grade.

“It was kind of a liberal environment and my parents were always liberal,” he said. But then asked whether he had other gay friends at that early age, Glick acknowledged, ” I was pretty much ahead of the curve in coming out.” His straight friends, he said, supported him from the start.

“I was pretty lucky with my friends,” he said.

Glick has been volunteering with the Trevor Project for some time now, mostly visiting public schools in New York City, talking to small groups of students about being gay and the negative effects of homophobia.

“Some profound things are said,” he explained. “They always start off saying there's no homophobia in their school and then there's this avalanche of stuff that comes out.”

Asked who had been helpful to him in his professional life as a gay actor, Glick mentioned fellow “Spring Awakening” cast member Stephen Spinella, and added, “But I mostly internalize things myself.”

The Trevor Project, of course, is there to help youth whose life experiences don't fully equip them for that estimable level of self-reliance. For more information on the group, visit http://www.TheTrevorProject.org.