NEW YORK - Country music star Chely Wright will make her first appearance at an LGBT event May 24 at the GLSEN Respect Awards - New York gala to support the national education organization's work to ensure safe schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
Wright, who recently became the first country music star to come out, also listed GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, in the liner notes of her new CD, "Lifted off the Ground."
"I am thrilled to support such a wonderful organization," Wright said. "I was immediately drawn to GLSEN because I want to do all that I can to help young people grow up free from fear and free to be themselves. GLSEN's work to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students are valued and respected in schools is a crucial part of building a better future."
GLSEN will honor Cyndi Lauper, Pfizer, American Express, David Dechman and Michel Mercure, and Student Advocate of the Year Danielle Smith at its seventh annual Respect Awards - New York at Gotham Hall.
Wright will be one of several celebrities in attendance.
"We are honored that Chely Wright is such a big supporter of GLSEN and our work," GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. "She is an extremely talented artist and an equally amazing person. Her decision to share her story will inspire countless young people to believe in themselves and hopefully make it easier for those who follow after her."
Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth experience harassment in school each year, according to GLSEN's 2007 National School Climate Survey. In addition, 60% of LGBT youth feel unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation and nearly 1 in 3 miss school each month because of feeling unsafe.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org