Quintessential 80’s pop icon Cyndi Lauper is showing her true colors everywhere these days. Her quirkiness landed her a coveted spot on Celebrity Apprentice, which has propelled the singer/songwriter back into the spotlight. Lauper, best known smash hits like “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “Money Changes Everything” is trying to change the lives of the LGBT community through her new campaign Give a Damn.
The Give a Damn campaign is a project of the True Colors Fund, founded by Lauper a few years ago. The True Colors Fund works to inspire and engage everyone, especially the straight community, to get involved in the advancement of LGBT equality.
As a gay rights advocate for more than 25 years, Lauper has worked to bring her straight peers on board in support of equality. Lauper says, “If one us is not equal, none of us are.” Joining her in the campaign are openly gay celebrities including Elton John, Clay Aiken and Wanda Sykes, as well as gay-friendly allies Sharon Osbourne and Kim Kardashian.
Through the use of social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, visitors are urged to reach out to the straight people in their lives encouraging them to show support. There are also additional opportunities to get involved with an array of non-profit organizations available through Give a Damn partnerships.
In addition to the campaign, Lauper recently announced that she plans to open a homeless shelter in New York City for LGBT youth. In a prepared statement, Lauper states, “Kids are coming out in greater numbers as they see themselves accepted and represented on TV and in movies, but they’re still being kicked out of their homes or running away and living on the streets.”
According to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, there are roughly 3,000 to 8,000 homeless LGBT kids in New York City. Funds for the planned shelter will be raised through Lauper’s True Colors Fund.
Many homeless LGBT youth face violence in mainstream shelters, forcing them to rely on a small network of gay-friendly facilities, advocates say. The True Colors Residence, set to open in winter 2011, will provide young people between 18 and 24 with a place to live while helping them get back on their feet.
“New York is an expensive city for most people, much less young people with no support,” said Theresa Nolan, director of Green Chimneys, which runs programs for LGBT youth, including a West Harlem facility that provides temporary housing. She said most youth programs only accept people up to age 21, “so a lot of people fall out of youth housing when they’re just getting the hang of living independently and they’re most vulnerable.
Lauper is currently working on her newest studio album, a record of blues covers that will come out in June 2010. She is once again reinventing herself by putting her unique twist on one of music’s most beloved genres. An Emmy Award winner for her guest-starring role as Marianne Lugasso on “Mad About You,” Cyndi continues to show her range as an actress and personality on television, in film and on stage.
If you give a damn about LGBT youth, join the campaign at Wegiveadamn.org.