Larry took the Spirit Day pledge earlier this month to support LGBT youth and stand up against bullying by wearing purple. So, in return, he got a trip for two to Las Vegas, where he met country-pop music sensation Shania Twain.
Everyone who took the pledge was automatically entered to win the Spirit Day Sweepstakes, which included a trip for two to Las Vegas courtesy of Delta Air Lines, a two-night stay at Caesars Palace courtesy of Caesars Entertainment, two tickets to SHANIA: STILL THE ONE at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, and a post-show meet-and-greet with the world's best-selling female country artist of all time, Shania Twain. Larry was lucky enough to be the winner, despite not even realizing he had been entered in a sweepstakes.
"I'd never met anyone who won a sweepstakes, let alone been the person to win a sweepstakes," Larry told GLAAD in an exclusive interview. He kept thinking, "'It's going to be one of those scam things, I'm sure. What's the catch? What do I have to do?' But Seth [GLAAD's Senior Manager of Communications] said…'all you have to do is have fun.'"
Larry, who was accompanied by Steven, his partner of five years, said the whole trip "went off without a hitch…Caesars Palace was incredible…Shania's concert was awesome. The venue itself, The Colosseum, was unlike any theater I'd ever been in." -- a big compliment, coming from a musical theather enthusiast.
He described his evening with Shania as "really, really neat. [We were] whisked backstage to meet Shania…It was so amazing to be face to face with such an accomplished woman."
Speaking of neat women, Larry was able to sneak some overdue family time into the trip. He was able to visit with his mom, who lives in Las Vegas, and whom he had not seen in a year.
As "awesome" as the trip was for Larry and Steven, he emphasized the significance of Spirit Day and its message: "The more important thing is [Spirit Day's] education about LGBT youth and awareness."
When asked why he decided to go purple in the first place, Larry told GLAAD, "I grew up knowing I was gay at a very young age but there was nothing around me that was gay…It was a big no-no. I literally grew up in the woods of Missouri and there was nowhere for me to go, no one for me to talk about it…no going anywhere with this for me." He added that while he eventually realized his parents would be there to support him, Larry struggled against bullies in school who would tease and hurt him for being gay and for not meeting their standards of masculinity.
"So I took the pledge…for the kids who are in small rural towns. Hopefully now with social media, they can see campaigns from [places like] GLAAD, The Trevor Project, [and] The It Gets Better Project."
We hope so, too. Now that Spirit Day is over this year, find out how you can continue to support LGBT youth. And don't forget to check out Shania Twain at Caesars Palace -- tickets on sale now.