By Jessica Wedemeyer
Katy Perry is no stranger to taking home awards, and come Dec. 2, she better have dusted off the old trophy case in preparation for a new addition: the Trevor Hero Award. The pop star will be awarded with The Trevor Project's top honor at the organization's annual fundraising concert, Trevor Live.
"We're honoring her because, really, she has done so much to empower youth," said Abbe Land, executive director and CEO of the Trevor Project, a crisis intervention and suicide prevention service for LGBTQ youth. "A couple years ago when, unfortunately, a lot of young suicides made the news … [and] there was a very visible presence of suicide, Katy stepped up and was out there in the community, speaking against it. … Her support of marriage equality -- and equality for everyone, really -- is one of the many reasons we're supporting her as our hero this year."
Added Land, "[Her song] 'Firework' is all about empowering youth to just be who they are, and that's what we try to do is make sure that when a young person reaches out to us … we are there to say, 'The way you are is perfect. Just be the way you are.'"
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Katy will receive her award on Sunday, Dec. 2, at the 3rd annual Trevor Live in Hollywood. "Rock of Ages" and "Hairspray" director Adam Shankman is directing the musical extravaganza presented by Audi and Wells Fargo. It will feature performances by Kristin Chenoweth, Anna Kendrick, "Glee" stars Matthew Morrison, Darren Criss, and Naya Rivera, plus Jesse Tyler Ferguson, "American Idol" finalist Jessica Sanchez, and more.
"I open up my phone book, and I ask everybody to participate," said Shankman of this year's Trevor Live artists, who will be performing the music of composers and lyricists from the LGBTQ community. "I get to create a concert event that will never be seen in any other context."
Shankman, who directed Katy's ex-husband, Russell Brand, in "Rock of Ages," also sang his honoree's praises, explaining what makes her a Trevor Hero: "Katy is a superstar in terms of helping teenagers and young people believe in who they are and in their futures, saying 'If I can be here, you can be here.' She's amazing. … I know her, and she's so sort of awe struck by her achievements, so I think this is a great moment for her."
Added Shankman, "I am desperately grateful for her care for this institution."
Trevor Live has become one of Hollywood's biggest events, with Lady Gaga, Neil Patrick Harris, and Daniel Radcliffe among the list of previous Trevor Award winners. Plus, each performer donates his or her time, forgoing their usual appearance fees.
"People hear about our work in a lot of different ways," said Land. "They'll find a celebrity they like, like Jesse Tyler Ferguson or Chris Colfer or someone like that, and when they see that they're involved with the Trevor Project, they'll want to know more about it. So the visibility Trevor Live creates for young people who need our services is really important. … No one wants to know that a young person took their life just because they felt like they didn't belong. No one wants to see a young person make a decision that is so final. People in the entertainment industry support Trevor because we all support young people having their futures."
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The Trevor Project was created to provide resources and create a supportive and safe environment for LGBTQ youth. "Each of us gets to make a difference in someone's life and the way you do that is by talking to someone," says Land. "If you think you know someone who might be depressed, who might be thinking of suicide, it's okay to ask them. That's what you should do! Talk about it. It's really important that people talk to each other about their feelings and about their fears. Reaching out for help is one of the bravest things a young person can do."
To learn more about The Trevor Project click HERE. If you or a loved on are in need of immediate support, call the Trevor Lifeline at 866.488.7386.
Gold-level tickets for Trevor Live are still available HERE.