Openly gay actor Thom Bierdz is
reaching out to troubled gay teens through art.
Bierdz plays Phillip Chancellor III, a
closeted gay man who faked his own death to live his life openly
elsewhere, on CBS' long-running daytime soap opera The Young and
the Restless. The character returned in August after coming out
gay to his son, Phillip Chancellor IV, last summer.
The 48-year-old actor told On Top
Magazine that he was motivated to act after hearing that a gay
teen from his home state of Wisconsin was bullied into committing
suicide and a second boy attempted to take his own life.
“I recognize that I have an
opportunity as an out gay actor to speak up and utilize my celebrity
to bring attention to this painful issue,” Bierdz said. “Bullying
of any kind is harmful, and especially if you are a gay teen already
feeling like you don't fit in.”
with the American Art Awards, Bierdz has created a new category
called Teen Gay Suicide. At the group's website, youths up to 20
years of age can submit drawings and paintings at no charge.
Proceeds from an upcoming book featuring the art will benefit The
Trevor Project, a national group centered on crisis and suicide
prevention efforts for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and
“I'm well familiar with the kind of
prejudice and anxiety and loneliness that comes from being a gay
teen. I was one. I know the pain of what it's like to experience
suicide in my own family,” Bierdz said, referring to his brother.
Bierdz said he hopes the project will
give teens an “opportunity to express their feelings through art.”
“It helps by giving them a voice and
visibility through powerful artistic expression,” he added.
(Check out the video embedded in the
right panel of this page from Bierdz on the project.)