For years we have all been taught that sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you. Over the past few months, we have learned, tragically, that this is not the case. Bullying is a form of emotional abuse that is often accepted as a normal experience. For some, the intensity and frequency can result in anxiety, depression, and suicide. For this reason Ebone Bell, Tedd Davis, and I decided to launch Put on the Gloves, a fashion fundraiser benefiting the Trevor Project.
With music and entertainment being a universal activity that brings people together, we chose to have a fashion show followed by a performance by Grammy-winning artist Mya to showcase individuality and freedom of expression. Fashion is a tangible form of creating and identifying individuality. Typically, teenagers go through a phase of self-discovery experimenting with hair, clothes, activities, and interests. When these teens are bullied, their self-esteem and confidence takes a big hit. Our goal is to empower LGBTA youth and adults to celebrate who they are, enjoy a night out, and give back to a worthy cause. The prom theme of the event is derived from Ebone Bell’s annual Capital Queer Prom, a formal gala that gives queer men and women an opportunity to celebrate the prom they should have had years ago.
Celebrity stylist and author Phillip Bloch is co-hosting Put on the Gloves. He says, “Bullying is an issue that affects everyone. When I was a kid there weren’t events like this. You live isolated and feel alone, so it’s really nice to know there are others out there who support you.” Having styled some of Hollywood’s biggest names including Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Salma Hayek, Nicole Kidman, Drew Barrymore, Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, Phillip lends the following tips to attendees of the event: “No tacky corsages, no excuses for bad hair—it’s not the 70s. Find a chic cocktail dress that you can get more use out of, and if you are going to wear gloves, don’t touch your face and then touch your dress. You will get makeup all over it.”
Put on the Gloves, which takes place on January 27, 2011, benefits the Trevor Project and supports the tremendous job they are doing to save teen lives.