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The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) is a non-profit professional group for GLBT journalists.

It is also, by and large, single-handedly responsible for the direction of my career as well as bringing me in contact with several of my best friends.

At age 19, I rustled up the courage to attend my first NLGJA event in South Florida, where I was an intern at the Sun-Sentinel in 1992. Folks like Miami Herald columnist Steve Rothaus and his partner, Miami public relations guru Ric Katz, became two of the most encouraging men in my early career and in my relationship with Jim.

Among the significant career breakthroughs owed to the NLGJA:

  • The 1995 event in Washington DC started my freelance career with assignments with The Advocate that would lead to a contributing writer's post.

  • A posting on an NLGJA jobs message board in 1996 by fellow member Shaun McKinnon drew my attention to an opening at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Shaun's now one of my closest friends, too.


  • At the 1996 convention in Miami, I interviewed with Kathleen Pellegrino from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. That led eventually to my job there in 1999.


  • In 1997, the members elected me to the national board of NLGJA. Two months later, at my request, the board selected Las Vegas for the site of its seventh convention and named me host committee chairman.


  • The Vegas convention proved an astounding success, in large part thanks to the generosity of the Las Vegas gay community and the efforts of programming co-chairs Michael Wilke and Rose Arce.


  • I was re-elected for another 2-year term in 1999, but resigned at the end of 2000 to move to Beijing.


  • In 2001, the Tribune Co. decided to extend domestic-partnership benefits to its gay and lesbian employees. This occurred largely through the efforts of NLGJA members, including myself as the sole board member employed by Tribune Co. at the Sun-Sentinel prior to the Tribune Co merger with Times-Mirror. Our calls, letters and chats with editors, human resources officials and corporate board members proved the potency of the NLGJA and its role in significantly enhancing the workplace environment for all employees.
I won't be able to attend the 2001 convention in Dallas because I am in China, but go to www.nlgja.org to find out about it and more about a fantastic organization whose work has changed the way the media covers gay and lesbian issues.


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