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.
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Born in 1972 in Moscow, activist, columnist, documentary film-maker, lecturer, porn star and explicit gay film producer Michael Lucas (birth name Andrei Treivas) was raised in a secular Jewish family during the oppressive communist era. He was the target of anti-Semitism as a youth, and some of his ancestors had been killed in the Holocaust. His great-grandfather was a rabbi who was murdered in his own synagogue by the Nazis. Michael was given his mother's maiden name at birth specifically because Treivas sounded less Jewish than his father's surname, Bregman.
Lucas has an interesting back story. He earned a law degree from Moscow State Law Academy in 1994, after which he owned and operated a travel agency. Three years later he was living in New York city, with stops in Germany and France along the way. Treivas began his porn career in Munich by working in straight films, but while in France he began an association with Jean-Daniel Cadinot in gay porn. By the age of 25 Andrei Treivas became an exclusive porn actor for Falcon Studios, who, without his counsel or permission, had given him an Americanized name – Michael Lucas. Nevertheless, he had greater ambition than being a porn star, and he got lucky. He was awarded a green card through a lottery system.
In 2004 he became a citizen of the United States, and in 2009 took dual citizenship with Israel. The following year he renounced his Russian citizenship as a protest against Russian homophobia and anti-Semitism.
With money earned from working as a male escort, Lucas started his own gay porn production company in New York in 1998. Lucas Entertainment is now a leader in the adult entertainment industry, having produced more than 300 films. His production company employs fifteen people who work in a midtown Manhattan office rented for nearly $20,000 a month, and Michael’s home apartment boasts original Robert Mapplethorpe art on the walls. To say that this immigrant has achieved success is understatement.
In 2000 Lucas moved his Jewish grandparents to New York, and one of the first things he did was take them to see the giant menorah in Central Park, so that they could witness that it had not been vandalized. He wanted to share with them the unbelievable freedoms Americans have.
In 2008 he married his partner of eight years, Richard Winger, a businessman and president emeritus of New York’s LGBT Center. In 2014 Lucas announced that they had divorced.
As a columnist for Out, The Advocate, Huffington Post and Pink News, Michael’s reputation is controversial, and his writing is highly opinionated and outspoken. Speaking regularly at universities such as Stanford, Yale, and Oxford, he discusses social, political, and sexual issues. Lucas has been on the cover of hundreds of magazines worldwide and has been profiled in many mainstream publications ranging from New York magazine to The New Republic.
In 2012 he wrote, produced and directed a documentary titled Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promised Land, which extols the tolerance of the Israeli State. A second documentary was made in 2014, Campaign of Hate – Russia and Gay Propaganda. Both received critical acclaim and have been presented at numerous film festivals.
As the gay news magazine The Advocate wrote, “Michael Lucas has used the stardom porn gave him as a platform to speak out against drugs, unsafe sex, child exploitation, anti-Semitism, religious oppression of gays, and a host of other social problems. Bold, honest, and passionately opinionated, Lucas continues to challenge conventional thinking in all of his pursuits.”
(Sources: MichaelLucas.com, vice.com, The Advocate, Wikipedia)
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Chad Griffin is the president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization.
Since joining HRC as president in 2012, Griffin has steered the organization into a fervent era of the fight for equality. He spearheaded investment in the 2012 elections that enabled victories from coast to coast and led advocacy around the Supreme Court’s rulings striking down Proposition 8 (which in 2008 barred recognition of same-sex marriages in California) and the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013. He also sits on the board of Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation New Orleans, which builds houses for those who lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina.
At age 19 Griffin became the youngest-ever member of a presidential staff while working for Bill Clinton. He dropped out of college to take the job. After leaving the White House, Griffin graduated from Georgetown University and went on to forge a career in political strategy. At a private dinner with LGBT donors in 2012, Griffin asked Joe Biden the question, “What do you feel about us?” The dinner was held at the home of a gay male couple and their two children, and Biden answered, “I wish every American could see the look of love that those kids had in their eyes for you guys. Then they wouldn’t have any doubt what this is about.” President Obama announced his own support for same sex marriage a few days later, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to do so.
Griffin is passionate about extending HRC’s work to millions more, especially to young people in states like Arkansas, where Griffin (now age 43) was born and raised. He was named one of The Advocate’s people of the year, and has been regularly featured on Out magazine’s Out 100 and Power 50 lists of influential LGBTQ Americans. Recently, the Washington Post named Griffin one of the most influential out Washingtonians.
Chad began dating longtime friend Charlie Joughin in 2015, and the couple walked the red carpet together at the September 2016 Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in Washington, DC. For five years Joughin served as national press secretary for HRC.
Primary source – HRC web site