In honor of Chicago Pride 2007, we gathered some of our favorite out-and-proud, local gay celebs from all walks of life - those who have helped shaped Chicago's LGBT community - making a difference - we asked them 4 questions and we learned exactly what was on their minds.
WHAT ARE YOU PROUD OF?
"I am so proud to be a part of a community that has fought very hard for equality and rights. To look back 25 years ago and think about where we were and see where we are headed now is amazing. I am very grateful to the men and women before me that sacrificed so many things to make our community stronger." – Matthew Harvat, President, CircuitMOM Productions (www.circuitmom.com)
"All the accomplishments that the GLBT communities have made both locally and nationally over the years is something to be proud of." – Richard Pfeiffer, Parade Coordinator, PRIDEChicago (www.chicagopridecalendar.org)
"Chicago's Gay Community, I have lived in several cities and Chicago is by far the friendliest and very good at stepping up to the plate when charities need their help." – Stacy Bridges, Publisher, Gay Chicago Magazine (www.gaychicagomagazine.com)
"I'm proud so much of the strong development of community identity throughout Chicago recently. The city government stance and professional services community is greatly enhanced by the cohesive nature of the opening of our Center on Halsted." – Jim Ludwig, Owner, Roscoe's (www.roscoes.com)
"I am proud to be out in Chicago and to be one of many people helping to build a community of inclusion and acceptance. I am proud of the money our company helps raise for AIDS and other charities throughout the City. And I am proud to be in a committed, monogamous relationship." – Tony Abruscato, President, Special Events Management (www.chicagoevents.com)
"The new Center on Halsted community center building makes me proud. Having seen the various fits and starts of previous failed efforts - remember the proposed locations at Clark, Broadway & Diversey? - the fact that we now have this magnificent structure makes me so very proud. Back in the 1990s when folks in other cities would ask me 'Where is the LGBT community center in Chicago?' I would answer 'On the second floor of a restaurant: Ann Sather's.' Now I can actually give them an address. Unfortunately, COH doesn't serve cinnamon rolls like they do at Ann Sather's. " - Michael Pleasants, Music Editor, Boi Magazine (www.boimagazine.com)
WHAT TURNS YOU ON?
"People smiling." – Chris Eterno, DJ and Nightlife Promoter
"People making a difference in the world." – Mark Nagel, Sales Manager, Gay Chicago Magazine (www.gaychicagomagazine.com)
"Physically: real men who don't feel the need to wax their bodies to the extreme and hit the gym 7 days a week. I would pick an average man over a "hot boi" any day." – Jason Steele, Columnist, Red Eye (www.redeyechicago.com)
"Pure, uninhibited, limitless, creative energy. It's a natural high." – PJ Gray, Author/Writer (www.pjgray.com)
"Intelligence, humor, a cute little nose, compassion." – Kirk Williamson, Managing Editor, Nightspots Magazine (www.windycitymediagroup.com)
"Confidence without cockiness. People who respect others. Knowing the difference between being assertive (a positive approach) and being aggressive (a negative approach). Self esteem without ego." – David Viggiano, Entertainment Reporter, Fox TV (www.foxchicago.com)
"Passion, heart, integrity, intelligence, humor and soul." - Jason P. Freeman, Editor in Chief, Pink Magazine (www.pinkmag.com)
"Literature and my husband, I'm the luckiest man alive to have him." – Carlos Mock, Author (www.carlostmock.com)
"Confidence. A sense of humor. Warm eyes, great teeth and a good kisser." – Jim Verraros, Actor/Singer (www.jimverraros.com)
WHO MAKES YOU ANGRY?
"Our pathetic excuse for a President." – Jim Verraros
"President Bush 24/7" – Carlos Mock
"I'm angered by the lack of genuineness and foresight of our national government, George Bush and Dick Cheney, allowing, promoting and continuing this totally unnecessary war." – Jim Ludwig
"I'll leave religion and politics out of this one. I will say those that do not take responsibility for their actions and those that do absolutely nothing to change the world for the better." – Matthew Harvat
"Fred Phelps, he is full of nothing but hate. When he dies I would love to go to Kansas and protest at his funeral." – Stacy Bridges
"Besides intolerance, hate, prejudice, fear, and ignorance, I would have to say incivility angers me most. Rude and ill-mannered people challenge my patience." – PJ Gray
"People who continually only take from the world and never give back." – Steven Milford, co-owner, Crew Bar & Grill (www.worldsgreatestbar.com)
"People that hurt people for no reason." – Miss Foozie, Chicago's own! (www.missfoozie.com)
"I'm worried that Illinois Democrats may be squandering opportunities to make significant headway on the issues the are important to everyone in this state. We have Democrats in all statewide offices and control of the Illinois House and Senate. People of conscience, compassion, and fiscal responsibility should be celebrating a new renaissance of forward thinking and the rejection of the hatred and irrationality that has become the hallmark of the Republican Party in this country and especially in Illinois. Instead there is too much infighting, posturing, and a real lack of progress. The strength of the Democratic Party is give and take, compromise, and attention to all people rather than uber control by a an elite Republican few propped up by right-wing evangelical zealots. The people of Illinois will grow angrier and angrier if the Democrats don't get the party's "house" in order and begin to make real progress on issues like transit, education, health care, energy, and further reductions in crime." – Kevin Boyer, President, Third Coast Marketing (www.thirdcoastmarketing.com)
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
Everyday people. – Erik Sosa, Artist (www.erikRsosa.com)
People who exhibit stability, caring, and creativity. – Jason P. Freeman
I'm inspired by the many entrepreneurial efforts within our business community constantly reinventing our entertainment programming and fresh events right here within Lakeview and especially here on Northalsted. – Jim Ludwig
My Father, Mother, and close Friends! They are what propel me to attempt to make the world a better place! They love me in spite of myself and they challenge me with their example. – Bill Pritchard, Make a Difference (www.chicagopride.com/difference)
My mom. She came into this country to start a better life, raised 3 kids and ran a business with a language barrier and without even having a high school degree. Anything is possible if you really want it. – Joel Morales, Marketing Manager, The James Hotel (www.jameshotels.com)
My mother. She's truly the best person in my life. – Chris Eterno
"There are too many to mention but any and everyone who tries to make changes for the better." – Mark Nagel
"The strength and courage of today's youth who stand up strong for their beliefs and their rights." – Kirk Williamson
"The brave kids you see taking a stand at their schools and in their communities against discrimination and hatred." – Tony Abruscato
"Cyndi Lauper. Bill Maher. And all other straight people who unwaveringly support the gay community and have the guts to speak openly about it." – David Viggiano
Share what you are most proud of or who inspired you !
Related: 2007 ChicagoPride.com Online Pride Guide