Cyndi lauper has long been a staunch and high-profile champion of humanitarian rights, including for those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.
“I always figured, if you’ve got a big mouth, use it for something good,” says Lauper of her drive to end injustice in the world.
In 2008, Lauper co-founded (with Lisa Barbaris and Jonny Podell) the True Colors Fund, a philanthropic organization — named for Lauper’s platinum-selling 1986 album and its No. 1 Billboard track — that works to end homelessness among LGBT youth by educating the public, advocating within government agencies and instituting systemic change.
In America, up to 1.6 million young people experience homelessness each year and LGBT youth make up 40% of this staggering figure, according to the fund.
“At first, the True Colors Fund was (called) the Give a Damn Campaign,” says Lauper, who cites Harvey Fierstein, “a very outspoken advocate for the community,” as one of her main inspirations. “That was the beginning of it. It was about giving a damn about equality. I realized it would be a great thing if everybody gave a damn because, like in our civil-rights movement, everyone has to participate in order to create change — not just some of the people, not just the people it affects, but also the people it affects outside of the community. We all have brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles who are affected.You can’t sit back and watch your family and friends have their civil rights stripped from them bit by bit. And that campaign got straight people, gay people, questioning people, bisexual people to stand forward and say, ‘I give a damn.’”