At GLSEN Awards, Stars Share Their Growing Pains

Matt Bomer, Chely Wright, Wilson Cruz, and more advocate for education and LGBT youth at GLSEN's star-studded event.



Chely Wright arrives at the 8th Annual GLSEN Respect Awards held at Beverly Hills Hotel.

“It’s hard when you’re a kid, right?” Wright continued. “But it underscores the fact that those of us who are safe and able, those of us with jobs and mortgages, we have to remember what it feels like to be a kid. We have to remember to go back to those communities and do our best to change those environments so they don’t have to step up every day.”

Actor Wilson Cruz, who portrayed troubled gay teen Rickie Vasquez on the cult television show My So-Called Life, echoed this sentiment, and drew parallels between his own life and the struggles of his character. One episode, in which Rickie is kicked out of his parents’ home for being gay, is based on Cruz’s real-life experience.  

My So-Called Life was basically my life in high school,” said Cruz. “My advice for closeted kids hasn’t changed in 18 years. The only reason to come out as a young person is if you feel safe at home and safe at school. If you feel there’s any possibility of you being harmed, or left out on the street, without a means to support yourself, then it’s not the time to come out. Your job is to become educated and self-sufficient, so that one day you can come out as an adult.”