By Advocate Contributors
Originally published on Advocate.com December 08 2009 4:05 PM ET
Neil Patrick Harris was honored for his work in the LGBT community at the Trevor Project’s 12th annual Cracked Xmas. The fund-raiser, held December 6 at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, hosted top entertainers — including Harris’s How I Met Your Mother costar Jason Segel — to support the Trevor Project’s LGBTQ youth programs, from the free 24/7 suicide-prevention helpline to education and advocacy efforts.
“Everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be able to live their lives proudly as exactly who they are,” said Harris. “I’m hopeful that in accepting this award and in helping to build further awareness of the Trevor Project’s resources, I can in some small way make a difference in the lives of LGBTQ youth.”
Even after his recent onstage duties, the Tony and Emmy host extraordinaire said he was nervous about receiving the Trevor Life Award, which honors someone who is an inspiration to LGBTQ youths.
“I’m not good at these kinds of events,” said Harris. “I’m good being Neil Patrick Harris, the host of the event, but being talked about and having to represent is a much more stressful, daunting task in my mind.”
The Emmy-nominated star has been an advocate for the Trevor Project since its inception more than a decade ago.
“I was friends with [late founder] Randy Stone when he made [the film] Trevor, so I’ve been aware of the Trevor Project for years. I think it’s a really strong valid niche charity that is more important than ever to support,” Harris said. “They don’t get a lot of opportunities to be recognized, and every opportunity that they get to be recognized allows that (866) number to go out and allows 1, 50, 70, 500 people to know about it and to potentially call the number. So for an event like this, it’s great promotion for them and a great acknowledgment to them.”
The Cracked Xmas event — a mix of music, comedy, fund-raising and confessions from those who credit the project with saving their lives — kicked off with a musical dance number (complete with high kicks) by the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, perhaps as a tribute to Harris’s work on Broadway.
The event included presenters and emcees from all sides of Hollywood, including Khloe and Kim Kardashian, Survivor host and Harris’s longtime friend Jeff Probst, Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Glee’s Chris Colfer, Kevin McHale, Jenna Ushkowitz, and Cory Monteith as well as a performance by Grammy-nominated singer Vanessa Carlton.
Adding more star power, the Trevor Project debuted a new public service announcement starring Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, who donated $25,000-plus to the nonprofit this year.
AT&T was also honored for its diversity and philanthropic efforts; this marks the first time the company has been recognized by a national LGBT organization.
The event, which hosted 1,200 guests, serves as the nonprofit’s largest annual fund-raiser, which was highlighted by a live auction. Up for grabs: walk-on roles in How I Met Your Mother and Modern Family and a VIP Harry Potter premiere package, which sold for $10,000.
“Cracked Xmas is always an incredible reminder about the myriad of enthusiastic supporters we’re lucky to have at the Trevor Project, and it’s also an affirmation that so many people care deeply about our mission to save young lives,” said Charles Robbins, executive director and CEO of the organization. “We enjoyed an amazing, star-studded show and heard from and honored some inspiring people and organizations in the process. Last night we saw old and new friends come together in support of the Trevor Project and LGBTQ youth, and we’re very grateful for that.”
When it came time for Harris to accept his award, the actor from small-town New Mexico talked about his private and public coming-out and the need for the services provided by the Trevor Project. “Being the real, authentic me has turned out quite swell,” he said. “This lifetime award makes me feel both proud and very old ... I stand before you humbled, yet looking very dapper.”
While Harris didn’t sing, dance, or perform any signature magic tricks, for the upcoming 100th episode of How I Met Your Mother the Broadway veteran will burst into song as Barney.
“It’s a musical coda — it’s a great representative show,” said Harris. “We wanted to do something that was big yet still in the voice of the show, and our ... head writers wrote a very hilarious episode that has a great song they wrote that represents Barney well. It’s funny; everyone’s in it. ... There were 80 people and a giant crane. It was epic.”
As far as pairing up with producer Joss Whedon for Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, the sequel, he said, “Well, Dollhouse is canceled so I think we’re one step closer.”
For more information, log o nto TheTrevorProject.org.