Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Power Couple Fred Hochberg & Thomas Healy

Chair of the U.S. Export-Import Bank Fred Hochberg and partner Thomas Healy, a poet and public servant, share an art-filled apartment on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Hochberg (b. 1951), one of the highest ranking business leaders in the Obama Administration, is heir to the Lillian Vernon mail order business, a company he began managing for his mother, transforming it into an international publicly traded direct marketing corporation described by Forbes as “one of the great success stories of American entrepreneurship.” He was appointed deputy administrator for the Small Business Administration during the Clinton presidency. President Obama nominated Hochberg to be chairman and president of Ex-Im Bank in 2009, and the U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination by unanimous consent. Hochberg has dedicated himself to community service and philanthropic involvement in civil rights, education and the arts. He served as chair of the Human Rights Campaign, and Out Magazine ranked him the 15th most powerful gay person in America.

Hochberg has been active in Democratic politics. In 2004 he was a delegate from New York to the Democratic National Convention. He raised $100,000 for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential run and did the same for Hillary Clinton during her campaign for the presidential nomination in 2008. He later gathered a similar amount for Obama after he won the Democratic nomination. After the November 2008 election, Hochberg was selected to serve on Obama’s transition team, tasked with overseeing transition at the Small Business Administration as co-Lead of the SBA Review Team. He has served on the Board of the Democratic National Committee and is one of the most senior openly gay members of the Obama Administration. As a couple, Hochberg and Healy (below) attended Obama’s first state dinner at the White House in 2009, one of three out gay male couples invited.

Tom Healy (b. 1961) is a polymath – a poet, public servant and art gallery owner; he was one of the first to open a gallery in Chelsea. Healy also directs arts programs at Columbia University. In 2011 President Obama appointed him to the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, which later elected him to serve as chairman. Under President Bill Clinton, Healy was a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Healy has played an active role in the New York City arts scene; after the September 11 attacks he served as president of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, where he led rebuilding efforts for the downtown arts community. In 2006, Mayor Michael Bloomberg awarded him the New York City Arts Award, the city's most prestigious award for achievement in the arts.

Healy took a respite from the art gallery world to become a poet. His first collection of poems, What the Right Hand Knows, was published in 2009 to great acclaim. Healy frequently hosts Wilde Boys, a roving salon for gay poets, at his Fifth Avenue residence. Trivia: Healy grew up on a farm and flies airplanes.

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