"After college I moved to New York (ndr 1999). I worked in theater, produced Broadway concerts and became a voice actor for Pokémon and dozens of other cartoons. I was out, and I was happy. I even had a few relationships. I was never wealthy, but I made ends meet. I was fighting for equality, and it felt right, but strangely enough, I still had that little boy's voice echoing in my head telling me that I'd never have that day -- the same one I'd seen my brothers through, and my best friend, twice. It wasn't something that made me angry -- ever. It was something I'd just accepted as fact.
A few years later I was putting together a rally to fight the anti-gay military policy "don't ask, don't tell." I'd brought a bus full of people from New York to D.C. for the event, and the night before, I was running to different gay bars around the city to promote the rally. I walked into Nellie's sports bar, and a man walked up to me.
"You're not from here, are you?" he said.
Jamie McGonnigal (born August 6, 1975) is a voice actor, actor, producer, activist and director, who has worked for various companies such as 4Kids Entertainment, NYAV Post, DuArt Film and Video and FUNimation Entertainment. McGonnigal currently lives in Washington, D.C. with his dog, Eli and husband Sean Carlson, whom he married on May 18, 2013 in a lovely beach ceremony at Cape Cod. He is the Community Engagement Manager for the New Organizing Institute and a blogger for HuffingtonPost.com.
"How do you know?" I replied.
"You're carrying a big gay metro D.C. map."
Which of course I was, with rainbow flags emblazoned over all the gay bars. He grabbed half my flyers and spent the rest of the night chatting and getting people to join us for the rally the next morning.
Flash-forward a year and a half, and I was living in Washington, D.C., with Sean. It was New Year's Eve, and we were celebrating in a cozy gay bar with about 40 friends. As the countdown approached, no one was watching the TV. Everyone had turned to face Sean and me. I immediately knew something was up. Sean hugged me and whispered into my ear, "I have to ask you something." With tears in his eyes, and having created the public spectacle he knew an actor from New York would clearly love, Sean got down on one knee and asked me to marry him."
McGonnigal is a recipient of the 2006 New England Theatre Conference Regional Award
As the founding Artistic Producer of The World AIDS Day Concerts and as a Founding Producer of the New York Musical Theatre Festival, McGonnigal presented the New York Premiere of Stephen Schwartz' Children of Eden, the first major NY revisitation of Pippin starring Rosie O'Donnell and Ben Vereen, Snoopy The Musical (starring Tony Award-Winner Sutton Foster) The Secret Garden (named in top ten theatre events of 2005 by Playbill.com) Rags at Nokia Theatre Times Square (Starring Lainie Kazan), and the first major revival of the cult hit Runaways by Elizabeth Swados. His FLOPZ n' CUTZ series benefiting the Joey DiPaolo AIDS Foundation was declared a “smash” by New York's NEXT Magazine. Named an “impresario” by Time Out New York, he has produced and/or directed more than eighty events since 2003 for The Matthew Shepard Foundation, God's Love We Deliver, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Parkinson's Resource Organization, The National AIDS Fund, Opening Act, The Pied Piper Children's Theatre, Victims of Hurricane Katrina, Free Arts NYC, The United Nations Association HERO Campaign, and Victims of the 2008 Midwest Flooding. His work has earned him National recognition as well as a special award from The 2006 New England Theatre Conference. Over the few years McGonnigal has been presenting benefits and concerts, he has had the opportunity to work with luminaries such as Betty Buckley, Alan King, Robert Altman, Chita Rivera, Judd Hirsch, Mike Nichols, Tony Walton, Jennifer Holliday, Kathleen Marshall, Stephen Schwartz, Sutton Foster, 5-Time Emmy Award Winner David Canary, and dozens more. He has directed sold-out cabaret concerts for Broadway celebrities including Laura Benanti, Max von Essen, Gavin Creel, Laura Bell Bundy, John Tartaglia, Mandy Gonzalez and literally hundreds of other Broadway performers.
In 2007, McGonnigal traveled to South Africa and Namibia for seven weeks as an ambassador for the United Nations' HERO campaign assisting remote AIDS-affected communities. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Joey DiPaolo AIDS Foundation and acted as camp director for Camp TLC, a summer camp for inner city teens living with HIV/AIDS [www.jdaf.org] from 2005-2008. Additionally in 2007, McGonnigal founded the Broadway Loves the 80s Concerts, hosted by Mo Rocca and featuring performances from Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Kate Shindle, Michael Urie, Becki Newton, Julia Murney and Tony Vincent.
Inspired by the passing of California's Proposition 8, McGonnigal began discussions with several leaders in the LGBT Community and started the website talkaboutequality.
In 2010, McGonnigal founded Take Back Pride, a campaign to put the elements of activism back in Pride Marches around the country. The movement has now swept 17 cities and 4 countries thus far.
More LGBT Couples at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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