courtesy Cyndi Lauper
Oh, those crazy folks at As the World Turns! For months, they ran scared of anti-gay Christian groups outraged by the romance of Luke ( Van Hansis) and Noah ( Jake Silbermann) - so scared that the boys went 211 days between kisses!

Now, in a wild, what-the-hell reversal, ATWT will throw a gay pride dance party on the July 3 episode, complete with Cyndi Lauper singing her GLBT power anthem "True Colors".

Lauper rang us from her current 24-city U.S. tour to tell us about her World turn. - Michael Logan

TVGuide.com: Did you know you were stepping into such a controversial story line?
Cyndi Lauper: Yeah, but why is true love controversial? Those so-called "Jesus people" are so confused, so disconnected from their hearts. They don't speak for Jesus. He would be horrified at their beliefs! What CBS has done here is groundbreaking and very courageous. Also smart, because a lot of gay people watch soaps. I'm honored to be a little part of it.

TVGuide.com: Luke and Noah are on the outs at the moment in fact, Noah even shows up at the pride party with another guy. But, word is, you play matchmaker and bring 'em back together.
Lauper: Hey, I'm a real buttinsky, so who wouldn't want to get involved with that? I tell those boys, "You never give up on love!" And it's true. There will always be obstacles but, in the end, it's all about love, pal.

TVGuide.com: Yeah, but Nuke fans say there have been too many obstacles, like Noah's green-card wife and his homophobic daddy. Your episode will end with Noah announcing he's joined the army! There's concern that all this is intended to keep the romance chaste. Thoughts?
Lauper: Anybody can do the badda-bing badda-boom sex stuff. Luke and Noah have taken a slower, deeper path and, in the end, that'll have a more powerful impact on the audience. But I know what you mean about that awful father! When they told me how terrible he's been to Luke and Noah I wanted a scene with that guy! I wanted to give him a piece of my mind. [Laughs] But they said I'd scare the hell out of him.

TVGuide: Is it true that "True Colors" was almost Anne Murray's song?
Lauper: It was originally intended to be a kind of country-western gospel song and was first offered to her - and she turned it down!

TVGuide.com: So how did it fall into your lap?
Lauper: "That's What Friends Are For" had just come out when my friend Gregory was ill with AIDS and had gone into the hospital. He wanted me to write a song for him just like that, and I'm thinking, "Oh, s--t...me write like Burt Bacharach? How the hell am I gonna do that?" In the meantime, my management sent me "True Colors" after Anne Murray took a pass, and I was struck by the words and the melody. Me and my friend and co-arranger at that time, Peter Wood kinda stripped it down and made more open chords. And that's how the song came together. I sang it I guess because I was hurting. I sang it for Gregory's lover Carl, who survived him, and for Gregory's family of friends.

TVGuide.com: Were you surprised that it became a gay anthem?
Lauper: I knew it was a healing song but had no idea how much it meant to the gay community until 1994 when I sang it at Gay Pride. A man came up and presented me with a new version of the rainbow flag and said he had designed it after being inspired by the song. You could have knocked me down with a feather! That night I wrapped that flag around myself on stage and sang "True Colors" in a way I'd never sung it before - and it was only then that I realized that Gregory did get his wish.