Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, the LGBTQ world’s royal couple, looked dapper and charming on the Marriott Marquis red carpet Monday night at The Trevor Project’s bi-annual fundraising gala Trevor Live for support and outreach to LGBTQ youth.
Harris said he had been aware of the Trevor Project for a long time, and in 2012 was the recipient of one of their highest awards.
When asked if he could foresee a day when a resource like the Trevor Project might not need to exist, Harris was not so hopeful. “I think that bullying will always exist in some way,” he said. “Bullying, whether regarding sexuality, or size of your ears, or reached puberty too soon, you’re always trying to feel normal and put down people who are different from you to make you feel better. Hopefully the sexuality issue won’t be such a hot button issue.”
“I think that there’s always going to be bullying, and something for kids to deal with, and a need to talk to people,” said Burtka.
The couple also addressed that salacious kiss that NPH planted on Burtka during his Tony performance. “Hedwig kisses some gent every night,” Harris said with a laugh, “and I’m so glad that at the Tonys it got to be David.”
Both said they had not yet set a date for their long-awaited wedding, despite a serious proposal by Burtka last February at The Drama League Gala.
Arianna Huffington, whom NPH presented with the Hero Award, was more hopeful there would be a day when The Trevor Project might not need to exist. “The next thing we need is to accelerate the advances [of LGBTQ rights],” she said. “Politicians’ views need to evolve faster.”
“Rick Perry represents a part of the population that will soon realize that they are going against history,” she said, when asked about the Texas governor’s recent comments comparing homosexuality to alcoholism.
Youtube and Twitter sensation Tyler Oakley, the 25-year-old recipient of the Youth Innovator award, said he was dedicating the award to his “people” — his followers — for responding so well to the various fundraising campaigns he’s run for The Trevor Project; to date, Oakley has raised $555,157 dollars, the largest amount raised by a volunteer.
When asked how it felt to be at the dinner with so many A-list guests, Oakley said “It’s crazy!” Sporting a light lavender pompadour hair style, he said “It’s super cool, just knowing that I am a part of something much bigger and that we’re saving lives, that’s incredible.”
Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson told reporters tales of being bullied when he was young and growing up in a small town where “it’s all about football.” He told reporters about finding a carton of milk on his desk in school that had the word “homogenized” printed on it with the second half of that word scribbled out.
“If you look back at last seven years, and how much progress we’ve made, it’s really exciting,” Jackson said. Jackson and his and fiancé actor Jason Landau are scheduled to be married in September. “My sister and brother-in-law asked if their kids could be ring bearer and flower girl [for the wedding], and weren’t they sure if maybe it was too early to tell them [about being gay]. They told them, and the kids went, ‘Cool! What do we get to wear?’ Total non-issue.”
Jackson, who is scheduled to perform for the President and First Lady this upcoming weekend at the Ford Theatre Gala (“Just a little gig,” Landau said) and just filmed the pilot episode of a new HBO show with Ryan Murphy called “Open,” was very coy with any other wedding details, but did confirm he would not be singing at his own wedding. “I hate it when grooms do that,” he said.
“We’re going to give him a break that night!” Landau joked. “No working!”
Abbe Land, executive director and CEO of The Trevor Project, told reporters that as of Monday, The Trevor Project’s confidential call center had been open for 139,000 hours and reached over 323,000 kids and teenagers across the country.
Comedian Wanda Sykes opened the evening with a hilarious riff on what it was like to be a black woman married to a white woman with white children. Ellen Page, Zachary Quinto and Lucy Liu were all presenters at the dinner. The program also featured performances by poet and transgender activist Ethan Walker Smith, Caissie Levy, Jeremy Jordan, Montego Glover, Rob Thomas and Tona Brown. The event also featured a silent auction and text-to-pledge campaign that raised over $155,000.