Why I Kept Wilson Cruz’s Big Secret
The actor, producer and activist is the new chair of GLSEN, and this is the story of why I promised him two months ago I would not reveal this. Plus a brief look at the news!
Good morning, and thanks for rising up with me on this Monday, Aug. 14, 2023. I’m on the road today, so this is an abbreviated edition of the newsletter.
On This Day
THE BIG BLACKOUT OF 2003! It was 20 years ago today: A major power outage knocked out electricity across the eastern United States and parts of Canada.
Here Now the News:
MAUI DEATH TOLL NEAR 100: Wildfires destroyed more than 2,700 structures in Lahaina and “an estimated value of $5.6 billion has gone away.” But mostly there are people suffering and the government is continuing to work to find them, Gov. Josh Green said in a video statement Sunday,
As the death toll around Lahaina climbed to 96, officials warned that the effort to find and identify the dead was still in its early stages. The blaze is already the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century.
TRUMP INVESTIGATION: Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis has not confirmed that an indictment will come this week, though her previous comments and security preparations around the Fulton County courthouse suggest that action could be imminent. Former President Donald Trump has stepped up his criticism of Willis in advance of the expected charges, calling the 52-year-old Black woman “a young woman, a young racist in Atlanta.”
Star Trek Corner:
WHY I KEPT WILSON CRUZ‘S BIG SECRET: On June 8, actors Wilson Cruz and Blu del Barrio joined their Star Trek Discovery costar, Anthony Rapp, on the stage of his off-Broadway musical, Without You, for a post-performance, Q&A, with fans.
I was in the audience with my friend, Hannah Simpson, when Cruz called on me to ask a question.
I asked each of the stars what their plans were for Pride Month, and Cruz dropped a bombshell right in my lap:
“Just between you and the 30 people who are in here, I’m taking over as the chair of the board of GLSEN,” Cruz revealed to wild applause. Rapp asked his Star Trek “space boo” about the current name the group is also known by — the Gay & Lesbian Straught Education Network. Cruz confirmed it will soon be known only by its acronym. “It’s basically an organization that works around the country to make sure that every school in this country is a safe place for queer kids,” said Cruz. And then he turned to the Blade and added, “You can’t print that yet! It’s off the record!”
Although newsworthy items are not traditionally considered “off the record” when a newsmaker says it after the fact, my editor at the Los Angeles Blade and I agreed to hold the story in exchange for this exclusive, in-depth interview following the official news release on July 26.
“This has actually been in motion for six months,” Cruz said in our conversation that day. “Why I am doing it is because I really believe in our new executive director, Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, who just came on officially as our executive director after Eliza Byard left, And I really, truly believe in her leadership and in the vision that she has for GLSEN going forward. I really fought for her to become our executive director, and I wanted to support her in this role.”
As he prepares to celebrate his 50th birthday in a few months, Cruz reflected on his lifelong journey as an advocate: A trailblazer on television at just 15, his work supporting fellow Puerto Ricans, serving as GLAAD’s director of entertainment industry advocacy and as its national spokesperson, serving on the board at GLSEN and now as its chair.
“This is my opportunity to help create a better world for the generations that come after me,” Cruz told me. “For 30 years now, I have been a voice for LGBTQ youth because of the fact that I was Ricky Vasquez. And so, it’s been a passion of mine to make sure that the school experience for queer students is better than the one that I had.”
You can read the full story at the L.A. Blade by clicking here:
You can also watch my interview with Cruz as well as with the stars of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and his Q&A with his Star Trek: Discovery co-stars by clicking here.
HOW TO VIEW EVERY SEASON OF EVERY STAR TREK SERIES: Click here to subscribe to Paramount+
That’s all for this edition! I’ll be back tomorrow morning with the stories you need to rise up and start your day. Until then… May your news be good news!
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