More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
Out radio host Elvis Duran speaks with GLAAD
Elvis Duran, the host of -- the nationally-syndicated Elvis Duran and the Morning Show has been on the air for more than 25 years and interviewed some of the most well-known music personalities including Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. In 2010, Duran came out on his show, explaining that homophobic statements offended him because he's gay.
Since then he has started work with organizations dedicated to LGBT youth including Rock and Rawhid, Robin Hood Foundation and Rosie’s Theater Kids. – has signed on as Event Chair of GLAAD’s 2012 summer event, GLAAD Manhattan, taking place in New York City next month. Proceeds from the event benefit GLAAD’s work to share stories from the LGBT community that build support for equality.
Elvis was kind enough to answer some of our questions and provide some insight into his personal connections to the LGBT community as well as his career as a radio host.
GLAAD: You’ve done so much for the LGBT community as an openly gay man in terms of coming out and sharing your story with the world – what’s been the reaction from the industry and your fans?
ED: Reaction has been both positive and, surprisingly, nonchalant -- which is what I had hoped for. I never intended to “stir it up” or promote heavy dialogue about my personal life amongst our listeners. My goal was to prove my existence – which is that of a morning show host that happens to be gay. There are many points that define who we are; being gay is only one of those points.
GLAAD: What about GLAAD made you want to lend your time and talent in order to work with the organization? Why is our mission of working to share LGBT stories through the media important to you?
ED: From personal experience, I’ve seen what our current economic climate has done to damage fair and accurate news reporting. GLAAD’s excellent news and story distribution insures the world’s reporters and editors will have access to the important stories that not only shape the gay community, but the world. Now that GLAAD has told our story, it’s our responsibility to promote GLAAD’s story.
GLAAD: When you came out, it wasn’t planned. You had never made any type of declaration about your sexual orientation in the past, you were simply responding to a caller on your show. What made you decide to speak out?
ED: In a word: honesty. Our listeners have their “bullshit detectors” on at all times. There’s nowhere to hide on our show, so just be honest!
GLAAD: What advice do you have for young people who are struggling with being gay?
ED: As I said before, being gay doesn’t wholly define who you are. It’ll be easier to work through that struggle if you let yourself off the hook and realize you have MANY reasons to celebrate being you and being gay is one of them. Do everything possible to surround yourself with positive people who love you for you.
GLAAD: When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in radio? Do you have any advice to young people today who want to work in the business?
ED: I was seduced by radio at a very early age - early teens. I became a student of successful broadcasters and hung out at radio stations where I was able to soak up the culture and the basics. Never taking any broadcasting classes in school, I decided real life immersion (at very low pay) was the best way to learn and grow.
GLAAD: You’ve interviewed so many stars over the course of your career, have you ever been star-struck? By whom?
ED: The few times I’ve been star-struck have always led to disaster. A good friend, who is also in the business once told me: “Never meet your idols. You’ll be disappointed every time.” He was right!
GLAAD: Is there anyone that you haven’t interviewed but have always dreamed of interviewing?
ED: President Clinton and, even though I did a short interview with him before he was elected, a one-on-one with President Obama would be nice. Oh, and Prince Harry.
To join Elvis at GLAAD Manhattan on August 7, click here. This year, GLAAD Manhattan has taken on a casino theme. Guests will enjoy delicious food, fabulous music, have the opportunity to bid on an eclectic assortment of silent auction items, and will receive a gift bag at the end of the night.
Other special guests include fashion consultant Phillip Bloch, Chef Ty-lor Boring (Top Chef), drag icon Lady Bunny, Robear Chinosi (NY Ink), Laverne Cox (Musical Chairs), Fredrik Eklund (Million Dollar Listing: New York), Isis King (America’s Next Top Model), nightlife icon Amanda Lepore, Countess LuAnn de Lesseps (Real Housewives of NYC), Sonja Morgan (Real Housewives of NYC), MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts, photographer Mike Ruiz, designer Deryck Todd, and recording artist Martha Wash. Stay tuned for additional celebrity guests, as well as surprise announcements!
View photos from past events below.