Celeb: Pop icon Cyndi Lauper, most famous for her ’80s break-loose anthem “Girls Just wanna Have Fun,” whose this-century accomplishments include a Tony for best score for for the 2012 musical “Kinky Boots.” Fans might be familiar with her platinum hair and wacky costumes, but they might not know that Lauper was once a homeless teen, after leaving home to, in her words, “escape a bad situation.”
Cause: Youth homelessness, particularly among LGBT teens. Lauper has long been a champion for gay rights. She turned her attention to homelessness through her True Colors Fund because of her personal experience, she says, and the high percentage of homeless kids who identify as LGBT. She is now advocating for passage of the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act, a Senate bill reauthorizing aid programs.
Scene: An otherwise staid government agency press conference and panel discussion at the National Press Club sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families. Lauper livened up the usual drill — cloth-draped dais, folders full of government statistics — with her brassy Queens accent, sky-high blonde updo and business suit that looked like something a Broadway costumer might whip up after given the edict to create a “business-lady suit.”
Soundbite: “You can’t just throw kids away. You don’t know who they’re going to be.” Lauper also bemoaned the difficulty of getting an accurate handle on the number of LGBT homeless, an already vulnerable group that often endures more violence because of sexual orientation: “We need a real count. Not every kid is gonna say, ‘Hey, I’m homeless and I’m gay. Beat me up.'”
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