Once again Cyndi Lauper and an all-star line up will be performing live on the stage of The Beacon Theater in New York City in Cyndi Lauper and Friends: Home for the Holidays, an event benefiting the True Colors Fund, co-founded by Lauper to end homelessness amongst LGBT youth.
The guests for this extravaganza, now in its seventh year, include Jackson Browne, Dr. John, Sandra Bernhard, Bridget Everett, Judy Gold, Peaches, Ricky Schroeder, Tommy Martinez, Ariana and the Rose, Wrabel, Paulina Rubio and more. It will be hosted by Carson Kressley on Saturday, December 9, at 8 p.m. Tickets can be secured at ticketmaster.com.
Each year Lauper and the True Colors Fund make amazing strides in accomplishing the task of eliminating homelessness for LGBT youth. This year the fund hosted the third annual #40toNoneDay to raise awareness of LGBT youth homelessness, which has reached nearly 130 million people online in the past three years. They’ve sent free True Inclusion Toolboxes to nearly 500 service providers, which equip them to offer safe care for LGBT youth. They have facilitated the National Youth Forum on Homelessness and released “At the Intersections,” the most comprehensive resource on LGBT youth homelessness. They held the fourth annual 40 to None Summit, the only national annual gathering focused on innovative solutions to end LGBT youth homelessness in America, and other enormous accomplishments as well. The True Colors Fund is helping create a world where young people can be themselves.
“At this pivotal time in our nation’s history, we need to unite – rather than divide – the country any further,” Lauper says. “At Home for the Holidays, we will come together to raise our voices and celebrate our differences. I’m so grateful to the artists, who are donating their time and talent to bring attention to this very important cause.”
Once again, it’s nearly time for your amazing Home for the Holidays, and you have fabulous friends joining you this year. What has the True Colors Fund accomplished this past year?
Over the past year, the True Colors Fund has been busy in Washington, D.C., and all over the country, but our primary focus continues to be on ensuring that LGBTQ youth have access to safe, inclusive and welcoming services across the country. We have been working with a record number of service providers and communities to provide free training and support. We released a number of new toolkits and sent out over 500 of our True Inclusion Toolboxes to housing programs and other service providers this summer. We are working with all of the homeless youth service providers in the states of Minnesota and Nebraska to go through our True Inclusion Assessment, which allows us to identify what agencies are doing right and where there are gaps that need to be filled. Then, we provide them with recommendations and support them as they put those in place. We have also been working in communities, like Nashville, TN, Grand Rapids, MI, and St. Petersburg, FL, to help them develop and implement multi-year plans to prevent and end LGBTQ youth homelessness. And, our 40 to None Summit last month was our best attended to date!
How did you first become aware of the homeless crisis in the LGBTQ youth community?
About 10 years ago, I had gone down to the Christopher Street Pier in New York City and met a number of LGBTQ youth who were experiencing homelessness. They shared their stories of being rejected by their families and the struggles they were having being homeless – especially the transgender young people. As a mom, I was worried about them and angry at the same time that as a society we were letting this happen to our young people. That is when I decided that I needed to do more and was a key moment in our deciding to start the True Colors Fund.
“Not My Father’s Son” is a very emotional video and song. Do you believe that songs like that have the power to change the world?
I have always believed in the power of song and music. I know music has gotten me through some of the darker hours. I hope when people hear this song, they leave the show and call their kids and tell them they love them. Or someone that they feel they have not been supportive enough and realize that and want to tell them they love them. Sometimes we are hardest on the ones we love the most.
Do you have a hero or a musical idol?
My mother and my husband are my heroes. Both of them have sacrificed so much for their families. My mom, as a single mother, raised me and my siblings. My husband really puts the interest of me and my son over his own. As for musical heroes, there are many, from the great Big Momma Thornton to Janis Joplin to David Bowie to Prince to Joni Mitchell. They all taught me so much through their music and inspired me as an artist.
What advice would you offer someone in crisis, being thrown out on the street and not knowing where to turn?
If you are still at home and need help, talk to someone in your life that you trust, and if you do not have someone, call The Trevor Project [at] (888) 989-2455 or the National Runaway Safeline [at] (800) RUNAWAY. If you have left your home, go to the closest service provider near where you are. They will help you.
You can find a directory of agencies at truecolorsfund.org. You can also get connected to a program through the National Runaway Safeline. You are not alone; there are people and programs out there set up to help you. The first step is reaching out to them as quickly as you can.
If you could have your ultimate stage fantasy, what would you need to happen?
I would like one day to have a show with really big production, like [an] amazing Vegas show. Think it would be fun to have one of those crazy, big, everything-you-can-think-of crazy stage productions.
Are there any new projects that you are currently working on and can talk about?
I just started writing songs for the musical adaption of “Working Girl.” It’s in the very early stages. Kim Rosenstock is writing the musical. She’s amazing, and I think we are going to really have fun together bringing this show to Broadway. Kinky Boots is still going strong on Broadway. I’m heading to Germany in a few days as Kinky Boots opens in Hamburg on December 3. This will be the sixth country the show has opened in. Can you believe it! The show has been seen by millions of people, and I’m proud the show that celebrates acceptance and love is so well received.
I am about to launch a clothing, shoe and jewelry line with HSN on December 12. I’ve always loved fashion so much, so to have my own line is a dream come true. It’s called A Touch of Cyn. Watch the live premiere 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. EST on December 12.
I’m also writing songs for a new CD, because I always feel the pull of the studio! I love recording, and I will be out on the road next summer again. Look for an announcement in the new year!
Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you’d like to include?
Come and join me and all the amazing guests at Home for the Holidays on December 9. It is one big party that you don’t want to miss. What a great way to celebrate the holidays with some of my favorite people in one evening.