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.

BY Daniel Reynolds

October 09 2012 8:07 PM ET

Student Ambassadors Brandon Serpas, Eli Erlicks, Amelia Roskin-Frazee, Dr. Eliza Byard, Camille Stovall, Carly Freders and Jeremy Brown.

 

GLSEN works to provide all children with this safe environment and education. But the obstacles are many. According to a 2011 National Climate Survey, eight out of 10 LGBT students experienced some form of harassment in the previous year. Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, whose wife Marilyn is a former teacher, took a hard line on this pervasive bullying.

“There’s nothing more important than starting out with a safe environment,” said Katzeneberg. “Bullying has become a very scary and real issue for most kids. It doesn’t matter if it’s sexuality, or obesity, or almost anything. Kids can be tough on kids. And what this organization does is it works hard to create a safe environment, through awareness and education, and through shining a spotlight, like what we’re doing tonight.”

Eliza Byard, executive director of GLSEN, specifically cites chronic underfunding and a lack of counseling as the most pressing issues facing American schools today.

“The decimation in American education is a threat to the wellbeing of students everywhere,” Byard said. “We have some stark choices ahead of us in how schools are going to be funded and managed. It is critical that we understand, as a community, that our youth will not succeed if we do not invest in how schools work.”

Her message to bullies?

“There’s hope for you, as well.”

See more celebrities at 8th Annual GLSEN Respect Awards on the following pages.

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