New Give a DAMN campaign targets gay youth suicide

Editor’s Note: Considering the awful news out of Indiana this morning, the following post seems particularly relevant.

Although the music and comedy tour has all but disappeared, Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund has been especially active lately, with the Give a DAMN campaign — which got off to a prominent start when True Blood actress Anna Paquin came out as bisexual in one of its videos — spreading the word about gay rights. And this week, the campaign turns its attention to teen suicide.

It’s a topic with a strong Dallas connection, as Danielle Girdano, the Dallas woman cycling into town as part of her Ride the Arc project, chose teen suicide as her cause. Girdano will be riding into town Saturday at 5 p.m., ending her great bicycling trek along Cedar Springs Road.

The new video features Modern Family‘s Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Lily Tomlin and Judith Light among those point out the higher risk of suicide among LGBT youth.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Danielle Girdano will be spinning her wheels for 12 hours starting tonight

Although Danielle Girdano was on the junior Olympic team for softball when she was younger, she admits that once she started her career at RJR, she “was pretty out of shape.” So when she got laid off from her job last summer, she had some free time on her hands to work off some of the extra pounds. And plenty of time to think about much of the injustice gay people endure.

So starting tonight, she’s gonna ride for justice.

This isn’t like the Lone Star AIDS Ride, which takes place over a weekend and crosses less than 200 miles. Nope, Girdano plans to put 300 miles on her bike TONIGHT. And she’s not going anywhere.

For 12 hours — from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday — she’ll be pumping away on a stationary cycle at Buzzbrews on Lemmon for an all-night fundraiser and kick-off event she’s calling “Ride the Arc: Party in the Dark.”

“I decided to do this for three reasons,” she told me. “First to call attention to the high suicide rate among gay teens and young adults — the highest demographic in the world is among gays.” Girdano herself attempted suicide four times when she was younger. The second is because she’s marrying her partner, Wendy, in the fall and thinks it’s high time equality be on the minds of more people, especially those in small towns. And third, she wants to “call attention to the affirming groups, like Youth First Texas and MCC churches out there, and all the resource centers for gays.” She didn’t even know such resourced existed when she was younger.

We’ll have more on this story as Girdano plans for her major ride between Chicago and Dallas in the fall, but show your support tonight at Buzzbrews. A get a free Red Bull … lord knows Girdano’s gonna need a few.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones