Trevor Project honors Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe, left, with costars Rupert Grint and Emma Watson in a scene from ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1′

I readily admit that I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I love the books. I love the movies. And I love the young actors that portray the characters in the movies — especially Daniel Radcliffe.

Radcliffe makes my list of favorites not just because he plays the heroic Harry Potter, but also because of his dedication, as a straight ally, to making life better for LGBT teens.

Obviously, I am not Radcliffe’s only fan. The Associated Press reports today that Radcliffe has been honored by The Trevor Project with the Hero Award for his work with the organization. Since first learning about the Trevor Project in 2008, he has worked to support the organization through public service announcements and other public statements. Radcliffe has also been very vocal and public in his support for LGBT equality.

Radcliffe told AP  he considers it “an honor” to have the chance to support the Trevor Project, and that he believes, “The people that are doing the heroic things are the people answering phones 24 hours a day in the Trevor call centers.” He said that supporting the Trevor Project is “absolutely one of the most important, if not the most important, thing that I’m associated with.”

Previous winners of the Trevor Project Hero Award are Nathan Lane, Dustin Lance Black and Vanessa Williams.

The final installment of the “Harry Potter” movie series — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 — will be released in July, and Radcliffe is now starring in the Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

—  admin

Super anti-bullying rally set

Long before the spate of bullying-related suicides that made headlines last fall, an organization called The Bully Suicide Project was working to shed light on the issue.

Now, the program hopes to capitalize on the excitement surrounding Super Bowl XLV to make that light even brighter.

Bully Suicide Project co-founder Dr. Audrey Newsome is working with the city of Dallas and the Dallas All Sports Association to stage what Newsome described as “the first major anti-bullying rally in Dallas.”

The “Super Day of Service, Super Day of Hope” rally will be held Friday, Feb. 4, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at City Hall Plaza.

That is the Friday before Super Bowl XLV will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, and Newsome said organizers are hoping to use the excitement surrounding the NFL championship game to draw attention — and participants — to the rally.

“We already have 28 schools and four professional athletes that have confirmed they are participating in the rally,” in addition to state Rep. Eric Johnson, Newsome said, and more are confirming their participation daily.

Newsome said the two professional athletes whose names she can release at this time are Kansas City Chiefs safety Reshard Langford and Baltimore Ravens wide receiver David Tyree.

“We really wanted to get some of the professional athletes to participate in this because most of them have really been silent on the issue of bullying so far,” Newsome said. “We want to get people out there to think about this issue, and what better way to do that than to use the excitement of the Super Bowl.”

Founded in 2009 by Newsome and Beaux Wellborn as a joint project of Campus Harmony and Youth First Texas, the Bully Suicide Project aims to combat bullying of all kinds and to offer support to those who were being bullied.

Bully Suicide Project started with the release in December 2009 of a series of public service announcements with photos by Tracy Nanthavongsa that featured people of all ages making their own statement about bullying and how it affected them. (See photos from the PSAs only at DallasVoice.com)

A month or so later, in January 2010, Bully Suicide Project released a video PSA on YouTube and organizers began working with local schools to provide education and awareness on bullying and on creating safe spaces for those targeted by bullies.

Last August, Bully Suicide Project launched its fall awareness campaign, again featuring photos by Nanthavongsa and special make-up by Melissa Whitaker.

The theme for the fall campaign was “Real Students With Real Stats,” and each model was a high school or middle school student in North Texas that has survived bullying. The photos were graphic, intended to drive home the real life effects of bullying by showing the physical signs.

—Tammye Nash

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 21, 2011.

—  John Wright

‘The Closer’ cast, Kevin Bacon supporting GLSEN’S ‘Safe Space Kit’ program

I have long been a big fan of The Closer, Kyra Sedgwick‘s show on the TNT network. Now I have even more reason to like the show, Sedgwick and the rest of the cast — and her husband, Kevin Bacon.

The Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network — aka GLSEN — has started its Safe Space Campaign, through which individuals can donate $20 and get one of GLSEN’s Safe Space Kits placed in the high school of their choice. The kit, according to GLSEN, “provides educators with tools and resources to address anti-LGBT bullying and create a safe and affirming space for LGBT youth.”

GLSEN’s 2009 National School Climate Survey shows that nearly nine out of 10 LGBT youth experienced harassment in school in the past year because of their sexual orientation and nearly two-thirds because of their gender expression. The survey also found that having supportive educators drastically improves the school experiences of LGBT youth.

Considering that schools can be such a breeding ground for and hot bed of bullying, I think anything that can help stop the bullying there is a good thing — especially for schools in areas where there aren’t organizations like Resource Center Dallas and Fairness Fort Worth helping get anti-bullying policies and programs in place.

Jonathan Del Arco is the gay actor who plays the gay coroner, Dr. Morales, on The Closer. Del Arco is the one who got Sedgwick and his other castmates to get on board the Safe Space train, and they did it by recording public service announcements encouraging people to support the campaign and donate to it. TNT has posted the PSA on its website.

Then Sedgwick and Bacon went a step further by joining together to film a second PSA about the Safe Space Campaign.

The Closer isn’t the only show to join the Safe Space Campaign, and its stars aren’t the only celebrities involved. You can watch more PSAs here. And even more important, you can donate here to send a Safe Space Kit to the high school of your choice. I’m sending one to my alma mater; I can’t think of a better gift this holiday than to help make LGBT students safer in their schools.

—  admin

TNA Wrestling launches anti-bullying campaign

TNA Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy: “If the bullies have a problem with you, then they have a problem with me.”

We’ve seen a lot of celebrities and political figures get in on the anti-bullying action lately. Fort Worth’s own Joel Burns made a big splash. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made videos. So did folks like Project Runway’s Tim Gunn, financial expert Suze Orman, actress Jennifer Love Hewitt and comedian Margaret Cho. Singers like Gloria Estefan, Adam Lambert and Kesha made It Gets Better videos.

Even Kermit the Frog made a video for the It Gets Better project.

But today I saw something that really caught my attention. It’s an anti-bullying campaign from what I would consider a totally unlikely source: Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling’s new Eliminate the Hate campaign.

“Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling wants to put a headlock on bullying, an epidemic that has gripped the U.S. for decades, but has recently gained national attention this fall with its link to a number of teen suicides,” says TNA’s news release. The campaign will feature public service announcements during TNA programming, including its Thursday night line-up on Spike (TNA iMPACT! and ReAction). The spots will be placed on all other TNA Wrestling platforms, including the website , DVDs and all social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter.

“TNA is also working closely with the hit Sirius XM primetime show Derek & Romaine as well as other Sirius XM® programs, and with broadcast partner Spike, who will air the PSAs across their network,” the statement says.

“Everyone at TNA stands firmly behind this new anti-bullying campaign.  The bullying must stop, and we want to take a stand,” said TNA’s chief marketing officer, Al Ovadia, himself a father of two. “There’s no place in our schools for bullying, be it based on a student’s looks, race, sexual orientation or anything else.”

And there’s more. The statement identifies several TNA stars who were bullied growing up, like Mr. Anderson and Kazarian. “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero says he was bullied when he was younger, but when he got to high school he “turned the tables” by protecting other children from bullies.

And reigning TNA world heavyweight champion Jeff Hardy kicked off the campaign with a videotaped appearance on The Talk, delivering a special message to 11-year-old Tyler Wilson, a TNA fan who was bullied because he was on a cheerleading squad and ended up with a broken arm. The message included an invitation to a taping of TNA Impact! and a backstage meet-and-greet with Hardy and other TNA stars.

Hardy told Wilson he was proud of him for standing up for himself and standing up to the bullies, and that in doing so he had become an inspiration to youngsters around the world. Hardy ended the message with this: “And remember, if the bullies have a problem with you, they have a problem with me.”

Ya know, there’s been a lot of talk in the last couple of years in North Texas about how the LGBT community is always preaching to the choir by having its rallies and parades and so on always in the gayborhood. The message, critics say, needs to get out there to the rest of the world. Well, I can’t think of any audience further from the gayborhood than the TNA Wrestling fans. And to have these wrestlers tell those fans that bullying is not OK will, hopefully, have a huge impact, on at least a few people who might not have paid any attention to what Tim Gunn or Kermit the Frog had to say.

—  admin