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Cracked Xmas Benefit for Crisis and Suicide Prevention Among LGBT Youth

Cracked Xmas Benefit for Crisis and Suicide Prevention Among LGBT Youth

Neil Patrick Harris, Carol Leifer, Vanessa Carlton, Glee's Chris Colfer, Cory Monteith, Jenna Ushkowitz, and Kevin McHale were among attendees of the Trevor Project’s 12th annual Cracked Xmas to benefit the organization's crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.

Neil Patrick Harris was the man of the evening as the Trevor Project saluted the star of How I Met Your Mother as its 2009 Life Award Honoree on Sunday at the Wiltern Theatre in Hollywood.

With a hybrid night of performances and fundraising, the Trevor Project’s 12th annual Cracked Xmas mixed comedy and music with heartfelt stories of individuals who have greatly benefited from the national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.

“Being the real, authentic me has turned out quite swell,” Harris said in accepting the group’s Life Award.

“Since I came out in 2006, I have since enjoyed the happiest and most successful years of my life,” said Harris, who recounted stories he hard from volunteers working the phones at the West Hollywood Trevor Project Call Center. “What I do feels small compared to these volunteers.”

“Trevor is just a great organization,” Harris said on the red carpet before the show. “I was friendly with (founder) Randy Stone when he made Trevor, so I’ve been aware of the Trevor Project for years and I think it’s just a really strong, valid charity that’s more important than ever to support. 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.

Survivor host Jeff Probst, Harris’ longtime friend, perhaps said it best in introducing the versatile actor who hosted this year’s Emmy Awards: “He wasn’t going to let his career stand in the way of his truth.”

Among the evening’s headliners, comedian Carol Leifer rocked the house with a rousing stand-up set, where she joked that she didn’t realize she was gay until she was 40. “I was single, 40 and divorced. That was one more way to piss off my mom!”

Leifer, who has been with her girlfriend, Lori Wolf, for 13 years since the two met at a Project Angel event, joked that coming out in Long Island was difficult: “Every girl in my neighborhood looked like Kenny G!”

Other performances featured a dramatic interpretation of MTV’s The Hills that included The Hangover’s Rachael Harris.

The actress, who noted on the red carpet that she has played a lot of lesbians in her career and learned from her sister, who’s gay, what “the inside scoop is: The inside scoop is there’s no difference. How do you prepare (to play gay)? Just be yourself.”

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Among the night’s favorites were Glee’s Chris Colfer, Cory Monteith, Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz, who all introduced a clip reel featuring Colfer’s gay character, Kurt, before introducing Vanessa Carlton.

Grammy nominee Carlton performed a three-song set that included “Who’s To Say,” which she dedicated to everyone “whose relationships are not approved of by either family or government.”

The fundraising portion of the event was highlighted by a live auction — hosted by comedian/actress Caroline Rhea — that fetched $10,000 for a VIP Harry Potter premiere package featuring face time with new Trevor Project spokesman Daniel Radcliffe; $7,000 for a walk-on role on NPH’s How I Met Your Mother; and $6,000 for a walk-on gig on Modern Family.

The Trevor Project was founded in 1998 and handles 30,000 calls from suicidal LGBTQ individuals via Call Centers in New York and Los Angeles. The Trevor Helpline (1-866-4-U-TREVOR) is the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for LGBTQ youth.

Fore more information, or to volunteer with the Trevor Project, go to

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Lesley Goldberg