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Rugby hunk Ben Cohen stands up against bullying, to be honored at gay Task Force dinner in Miami

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Straight international rugby star Ben Cohen says his thousands of gay Facebook fans hit the “Like” button because “they used to find me attractive,” but now stick by him because of his anti-bullying campaign.

“We’re saving lives and that’s what we want to do,” says Cohen, who retired from rugby earlier this year to work full time on his Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation. “We want to stop people from committing suicide, to stop being bullied because they’re perceived to be different.”

Cohen, the married father of twin girls, became an anti-bullying activist after his father was slain breaking up a fight at a Northampton nightclub.

The British heartthrob, 33, will be feted Saturday by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force at “Sparkle,” a fundraising dinner at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.

The party will also honor Miami attorney and gay-rights activist Georg Ketelhohn, and feature a special appearance by 1970s power actress Pam Grier, most recently seen in Showtime’s The L Word.

For tickets, visit www.thetaskforce.org/miami or call 305-571-1924. Be a fan of the Miami Recognition Dinner; go to facebook.com/MiamiDinner.

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Rugby "Star" Ben Cohen may be a very nice & well meaning guy, but how exactly is he working to stop bullying? All I see is a good looking guy with no shirt who is spending lot of money traveling the world raising money from Gay People.

There are many more worthy organizations for who are doing actual work who deserve our donations such as the Trevor Project, GLSEN and It Get Better. Do we really need to be funding this guy's lavish life style??

Hi, Steven,

I can understand your first impression of my friend’s work, but as a man that worked for an American LGBTQ and HIV non-profit. Yes, there are many organisations in the States that hold sanctimonious dinner benefits where wealthy white gay call the shots, and it is usually placed as a pat on their own back.

And during this global Depression and most of the wealthy white gay men throw their pocket money, with these moneys go not to the cause at hand but for the costs of some other wealthy white gay man’s compensation and the paltry remains for the support staff.

The remainder is spent on fundraising that solely spread for house fundraisers at wealthy white gay men’s fabulous estates and their fundraising throughout the year, and the penultimate awards dinner, where these same benefactors just want the souvenir for bragging rights.

Some of these organisations do a great job in educating youth about the harm in bullying, and the work they do can assist in education. But, there is also another approach to truly bring awareness of bullying to the children that will have a lasting impact.

The Ben Cohen Stand Up Foundation are working to boost the freshly out teens and young adults through sports heroes that future bullies look up to and have them stand up with him. Their heroes saying to them that it isn’t cool to bully, and that is an angle you do not see.

My friend has no needs of your money for his lavish lifestyle. He lives quite well, thank you. He could’ve easily gone down to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup and would have been a great commentator. And it would be wonderful to see my friend that lifts my spirits.

But he is working so much to turn the page on bullying that occurs now and affects some that are playing the great game of rugby after their academic life with those scars of their past, bringing something positive healing to them.

Amen Gary !!!!!

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