U.S. Congressman, 1st District of Rhode Island
It’s nice to have a friend in the business, especially when that business is the U.S. House of Representatives.
When then-Providence Mayor David Cicilline announced that he would make a play at a seat in Congress in 2010, it was widely expected that he might eventually assume the role of former Congressman Barney Frank, the stalwart, openly gay champion of LGBT issues in Washington.
Well, he won that race, and two elections since, and things have changed: this year there are eight out congresspeople who work together to advance a LGBT agenda—that’s more gay muscle than ever before under the dome.
As co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, and a member of the House Judiciary Committee, U.S. Rep. Cicilline has consistently been a strong voice for LGBT rights in Congress. He is a co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Respect for Marriage Act and joined an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and provide for full marriage equality.
As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Cicilline has worked to protect the international LGBT community and earlier this year introduced the Global Respect Act, legislation that would ban foreigners who have committed or incited gross violations of basic human rights against LGBT individuals from entering the United States.
In addition, Cicilline has helped lead the fight against anti-LGBT bullying in schools to ensure that all children are able to attend school in a safe, welcoming environment.
“As a nation we have a responsibility to stand for the principles of dignity, equality, and freedom of expression, and I’m committed to upholding our promise to defend basic human rights for all people,” says Cicilline, adding that, yes, he does have a gay agenda. “I believe it’s time to move forward with a comprehensive bill to ensure LGBT people are treated fairly in all facets of their life, including employment, housing and education. I’ve met with my colleagues and advocacy groups who are supportive of this effort and I look forward to introducing a comprehensive LGBT civil rights bill next year.”
Owner, Online Buddies
Thanks to Jonathan Crutchley lots of gay guys in their 40s or older actually got a lease on their dating life long before the advent of online hook-up sites and maybe even in spite of the smattering of gay clubs and bars that dotted the New England landscape. An early gay technology advocate, Crutchley was one of the guys (Basile was his partner) behind Dial Information Services in 1992. Yup: there was nothing more exhilarating at the time than spending an hour or two on the phone LISTENING to personal ads and then, *gasp* having an anonymous conversation over the phone.
And then, as if by magic, Crutchley and Basile, pretty much invented online dating with Online Buddies Inc., in 2001. In its 13 years of existence, their flagship product Manhunt has become a category leader. It consistently ranks among the top two websites in the United States, according to the Hitwise Lifestyle Gay and Lesbian Quarterly Top Ten Report, boasting seven million active members in over 100 countries worldwide.
Read: with a little help from the www, Crutchley changed forever the landscape of, er, dating.
“Any power that I’m perceived to have comes directly from the gay community that my business serves, as well as the dedicated employees who make Online Buddies, Manhunt Cares, and the Online Buddies Research Institute possible,” says Crutchley, referencing the philanthropic ventures the revenue from his business now allows.
“Together we facilitate the best possible interactions for men seeking men, and we help to raise awareness for health issues in our community. Often I have had men come up to me and thank me because they met their boyfriend, partner, or husband through one of our web or mobile applications. If this is power then I’ll accept that term, because let’s be honest: who doesn’t love love?”