Cyndi Lauper on advocating for LGBT youth

Cyndi Lauper opens up about what motivates her to want to help LGBT youth.

Singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper stopped by Marketplace's New York bureau last week to speak with host Jeremy Hobson about her crusade for LGBT youth.

Jeremy Hobson: So I think the best way for me to introduce our next guest is to play you a bit of one of her songs.

That's Cyndi Lauper, of course, with her hit "True Colors," which came out back in 1986. These days, Lauper is working on a project call the True Colors Fund, which deals with homelessness among gay youth. And one of the fund's first initiatives is to raise awareness of the issue.

Cyndi Lauper joins me now here in the studio. Good morning.

Cyndi Lauper: Good morning.

Hobson: Well, first tell us just about this problem that you're trying to address. You say 40 percent of young people who are homeless in this country are LGBT.

Lauper: Up to 40 percent. And the reason I was so concerned is because only 3 to 5 percent of the general youth population identify as gay or transgender, which means they're getting thrown out.

Hobson: Thrown out of their houses?

Lauper: Thrown out of their houses, thrown out of every place -- just because they're gay or transgender. That's like throwing your child out because he has brown hair, or she has brown hair.

Hobson: What got you involved in this in the first place?

Lauper: They're kids -- you don't throw kids away. You know, funny thing: The kids -- I had a kid, he didn't come with a money-back guarantee receipt, you know what I mean? Like if I didn't like him, I couldn't bring him back.

Hobson: But was there a moment that you decided to do this because of an experience that you had?

Lauper: Yeah. You know, I had a friend who died very young, actually of AIDS. He was thrown out of his house when he was 12 by his mom. And unfortunately, all the things that happen to you when you're a teenager -- because you're a teenager -- are magnified. So what's better is to have information, because the more information and educated that you are about your situation, the better you can proceed to help your child. So this program brings all the family in, and they all talk.

Hobson: Have you faced any pushback from any of your fans?

Lauper: No, I don't think about that. You know, I've been around a long time, and I do things -- I make music to lift people up, and if I see kids in need like this -- see, this is a fixable epidemic. If you reach out to the families and they can talk to each other with educated people, and get it all out, then it's fixable. If it's not fixable, that's fine. But you don't throw away a generation, and that's why I'm so adamant about this. And yes, I'm going to advocate my ass off for these kids.

Hobson: Well Cyndi Lauper, thank you so much for coming in.

Lauper: Thank you.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.

Singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper stopped by Marketplace's New York bureau last week to speak with host Jeremy Hobson about her crusade for LGBT youth.

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