June 9 E. Hampton Benefit to Support NYC’s LGBT High School
For the seventh year, East Hamptonites will gather at the drop-dead gorgeous Further Lane estate of Scott Sanders and his partner Peter Wilson. The grounds alone are reason enough to visit, without the open bar, celebrities, socializing and, yes, swag. And all proceeds go to one of the most worthy causes out there, the Hetrick-Martin Institute.
We’ve all been following the seemingly endless news stories about bullied LGBT teens, the suicide attempts, the suicides, the social media harassment. The sensational trial of Dharun Ravi, who trained a secret camera on his college roomate’s meeting with another man, and the consequent suicide, has riveted media attention.
But the bullying that goes on our nation’s secondary public schools is far more widespread -- and far, far worse. Unfortunately, in far too many cases, teachers and administration are indifferent. Often, they chide the bullied student for tattling or not "manning up"; they may even take the side of the bullies. In some cases, it’s the teachers themselves who are the bullies.
In a huge and diverse city like New York, where so many different cultures meet every day on the playground, the chance that an effeminate boy or a tom girl will face teasing or worse is inevitable. As for a transgendered child, the tortures they encounter every day is nearly unimaginable.
So, now that I’ve thoroughly depressed you, here’s the good news. In a nondescript office building in Noho, there’s a public high school where none of this occurs. Instead of slaps, LGBT students get hugs. Instead of taunts, they receive cheers.
The Hetrick-Martin Institute is a local charity that serves LGBT youth. Hetrick-Martin sponsors a variety of programs but is best known as administrator of Harvey Milk High School. Here, 100 at-risk students receive the attention and care they need to succeed. For many of them, the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) is the difference between dropping out and a degree. Many more students take advantage of Milk’s safe space every afternoon, where they participate in programs encompassing everything from job skills to HIV prevention.
"I’ve seen the money we collect at this fundraiser change lives," said Bobby Graham. "The Hetrick-Martin Institute welcomes anyone who’s been bullied out of their schools or pushed out of their homes because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. If it weren’t for HMI and this fundraiser there would be a lot more LGBTQ youth without futures to look towards." Graham, ad director at Lucky Magazine, is serving as the event chair, along with GQ’s Brendan Monaghan.
It should be noted that the proceeds from this interview will go directly to help fund homeless youth support services, counseling, job readiness and HIV/STD testing and education. Hetrick-Martin’s most visible project may be the Milk School, but its for disadvantaged gay youth extends far beyond its walls.
If you’ve been wanting to do something to help LGBT youth, here’s your chance. And the best part is, it’s fun.
"School’s Out" is a cocktail party that features a full-service open bar, food and one of the most beautiful vistas on the East End. Sponsors include Armani Exchange and Solstice Sunglasses (so expect some swanky swag). At the event, you’ll have the opportunity to speak to HMI students, as well as dishing the latest celebrity gossip with Bravo’s Andy Cohen. DJ Shawn Lisle will be spinning a House blend (and yes, people do dance at this event).
Over 500 gay men, lesbians and gay allies (at least those in-the-know) will be heading out to Further Lane from 6 to 8:30 p.m. This is the kick-off party for the summer season. If you want to meet up with everyone you didn’t see all winter, you’ll see them here. And if you’re single ...well, you won’t be the only one.
Tickets are $350, and it all goes to helping teens who need help badly. Doing well by having fun. It’s a concept!