Ruggiero goes GLAAD
Updated Tue. Apr. 15 2008 1:57 PM ET
After putting his sexuality in the spotlight earlier this year, Degrassi’s Adamo Ruggiero made a conscious effort to involve himself in the gay community, through comedy, TV work and social outreach.
Ruggerio’s range of projects include:
Working with youth-oriented charities such as The Trevor Project, a U.S.-based suicide hotline.
Attending the 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) in L.A. on April 26th, where Degrassi has been nominated in the Best Drama Series category.
Returning to Toronto for the “We’re Funny That Way” Comedy Festival, kicking-off on April 30th.
“My whole coming out was a huge step and an important movement for me,” Ruggiero tells CTV.ca during a telephone interview.
Earlier this year Ruggiero publicly confirmed his homosexuality with an exclusive interview on eTalk with Tanya Kim and a cover story in “FAB”, Toronto’s gay magazine.
Ruggiero’s character on “Degrassi,” Marco Del Rossi, revealed his homosexuality during a story arc in 2003.
“Everyone has been so excited for me,” says Ruggiero.
“Coming out helped prove that we underestimate some of the people in our community. Everyone in Toronto was so supportive and I feel so lucky.”
After years of pushing the boundaries of teen life on television, Degrassi has been recognized by The GLAAD Media Awards for a second time.
Degrassi was previously nominated in 2004 following Marco’s coming out story.
Ruggiero says, “There’s something a little bit more special about getting nominated a second time around … now our show has a history with gay issues.”
“Between my character, Marco, and Lauren Collins’ character, Paige, we’ve really shared so many different stories much about the gay community and about the struggles for gay youth.”
Once a year, the GLAAD awards nominate and reward the best in television, film, music, theatre, Web/print media and advertising for their dedication to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
We’re Funny That Way
“The whole reason I wanted to open up was to reach out to local youth and international youth who have been watching the show,” says Ruggiero.
True to this vision, Ruggiero is now involved with a community based anti-gay violence project with the Toronto Police Force and will participate in the Gala night of “The We’re Funny That Way” Comedy Festival.
The gala is a fundraise for the “We’re Funny That Way” comedy foundation, which offers grants to groups that bring essential services such as counseling and support to queer youth.
“I’ve been looking forward to [the event] for the last few months,” Ruggiero says.
“There’s a very lighthearted, free-spirited sense to everything and it is all oriented to a good cause.”
The multi-day festival kicks off with a Toronto-ized version Hollywood Squares, inspired by the American game show.
Hosted by festival founder Maggie Cassella, “West Hollywood Squares – The Sequel” will feature Ruggiero and other comedians and celebrities including Miss Coco Peru (“To Wong Foo”, “Girls Will be Girls”), award-winning comedian Marga Gomez, NYC wallflower Julie Goldman (“Big Gay Sketch Show”), comedians Dawn Whitwell, Ted Morris, Stephen Sharp, and Doug Taylor among many more.
“I’m so excited to feel the environment,” Ruggiero says and among this star-studded line-up, Ruggiero is especially excited to see Alec Mapa from one of his favourite shows, “Roseanne”.
When asked who will get centre square, Ruggiero laughs, “I don’t know. I feel like Stefan Brogran (aka Snake on Degrassi) deserves middle square.”
“Degrassi: The Next Generation” airs Monday nights at 7:30 on CTV.