By Joel P. Engardio -- Life got better for gay firefighters in San Francisco last year. The fact it took until 2014 for this gay awakening shows how long the journey to diversity has been for the San Francisco fire department.Read More
By Joel P. Engardio -- Seoul mayor Park Won-soon leads a city of 10 million people and has a good chance to become South Korea's next president. His staff invited me to meet with him during his recent San Francisco visit. I asked about his views on LGBT rights and Park made news in the exclusive interview.Read More
Joel Engardio speaks about LGBT rights in relation to Title VII and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) at a panel hosted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in San Francisco. This was part of a celebration of 50 years of the Civil Rights Act. June 2014.Read More
By Joel P. Engardio -- Keith Baraka left his family in Ohio for an easier gay life, but he said nothing was tougher than the decade he spent being a gay firefighter in San Francisco's Station 6.Read More
By Joel P. Engardio -- While Cher and Elton John debated the best way to protest Russia’s anti-gay laws (she wouldn’t sing there and he was willing), my stand for LGBT equality in Russia was limited to likes on Facebook posts. Then I received a surprise email from a Russian television channel. They wanted permission to broadcast a documentary I made for PBS. Now I had to decide: Be like Cher and refuse to do business with a country that discriminates? Or follow Elton John’s example and be a gay man who supports gay Russians by trying to engage the nation?Read More
Joel Engardio introduces first-ever meeting of the Alice B. Tolkas LGBT Democratic Club on San Francisco's historically conservative Westside. October 7, 2013.Read More
By Joel P. Engardio -- Gays are discovering the historically conservative San Francisco Westside as a nice place to settle down. “A traditional neighborhood is blending into a 21st Century version of Mayberry,” said Mark Norrell, a business owner on West Portal Avenue. “We haven’t lost our small town feel. We’re just updating it. You could call it Gayberry.” But there’s some resistance to Norrell’s push to modernize the area's shopping experience. "Our meetings can be soap opera dramatic," said Maryo Mogannam, president of the West Portal Merchants Association. "Get the popcorn."Read More
By Joel P. Engardio -- Beware the new social fax pas in the age of same-marriage equality: Asking gay friends when they are getting married.Read More
Joel Engardio interviewed on ABC 7 News San Francisco on eve of Supreme Court ruling against Proposition 8 to make same-sex marriage legal in California. June 25, 2013.Read More
By Joel P. Engardio -- The students at San Francisco’s Lowell High School weren’t entirely bored with my guest lecture on the history of media and political campaigns. They laughed at the vintage TV ads, especially the “I Like Ike” cartoon from 1952. But they had no idea who President Dwight Eisenhower was. Hormones and a warm, spring day can explain the lack of interest in dead presidents. Two boys in the front row held hands the entire time I spoke.
I wanted to stop the lecture and tell the affectionate boys they should thank Eisenhower if they’re going to the prom together. The Glee-era high school experience they enjoy today is connected to Eisenhower’s purge of gay people from the U.S. government 60 years ago.