Sunday night was filled with hope, support and laughter at “Trevor Live,” an evening of musical performances, inspiring speeches and the presentation of the Trevor Hero Award to honoree Katy Perry.
Among the Hollywood stars in attendance were Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland, Glee’s Kevin McHale and American Idol’s Jessica Sanchez, who showed their support for The Trevor Project at the Hollywood Palladium with Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler as the evening’s host.
Inspired by the Academy Award-winning 1998 short film Trevor, The Trevor Project has become the leading organization that aims to help LGBTQ youth by preventing suicide, providing support and saving young lives through its national call center, mobile devices and online services.
Trevor Project chairman Kevin Campbell noted how the cause originated in Hollywood while explaining to The Hollywood Reporter why the “Firework” singer was selected as the recipient of this year's Trevor Hero Award.
“Katy Perry has such a message of being yourself,” said Campbell. “I watched the Katy Perry documentary a few views ago … and she’s just like, ‘I just want to be the best Katy Perry.’"
"If that’s not the Trevor message, then I don’t know what it is," Campbell continued. "So we’re very proud to have Katy help spread the message about Trevor. She’s amazing."
The star-studded event concluded with director Adam Shankman (Rock of Ages) presenting Perry with the award, which he said “honors an individual for empowering youth and increasing visibility and understanding of the [LGBTQ] community.”
“I finally feel accepted,” the singer-songwriter cracked in her acceptance speech.
“I think we all know the real heroes are the folks at the call center,” Perry continued. “As much as I wish we didn’t have to, they are there -- day in and day out -- reminding people that there is value in staying. The organization has educated me so much.”
Billboard's woman of the year, who grew up with a strong religious background, revealed during her speech that she was once told the LGBTQ community it was “an abomination.”
“But when I started to ask questions, it was hard to find an answer that made rational sense from the bubble around me,” said Perry. “As I’ve grown up, I’ve freed myself from that mindset.”
Perry concluded: “My mantra has been, ‘Be yourself enough, and you can be anything,’ so I’m so proud to be honored by an organization that believes the same exact thing, and I’m so active in reminding LGBTQ young people about it. I’m looking forward to working more closely with The Trevor Project in years to come, and I thank you all for this award and for educating me so that I can educate others.”
Previous honorees of the Trevor Hero Award have included Lady Gaga, Susan Sarandon, Daniel Radcliffe, Kathy Griffin, Neil Patrick Harris and Vanessa Williams.