Not Quite Sure How to Come Out? Meet PR’s ‘Gay Guru.’Bottom Highlights, Online Only Friday, April 29th, 2011
Howard Bragman grew up “fat and Jewish and gay” (his words) in 1960’s Flint, Michigan – no wonder he felt like “a bit of a Martian.” Fortunately for both Bragman and the many celebrities who now number amongst his clients, the ‘gay guru’ found his niche in the world of PR – and today is known as the go-to guy when big name stars need a helping hand coming out of the closet.
Bragman takes pride in his work, and sees PR as a means by which to create the role models he lacked as a young man.
“These people are heroes because coming out is the single most important act any gay person can do,” said Bragman. “Because every bit of research that’s ever been done says if you know more gay and lesbian people, you are gonna support our rights.”
The ‘gay guru’ got his start in the PR business working for a Chicago firm, and in 1989 he moved to Los Angeles and opened his own firm. He developed a reputation for maneuvering the delicacies of coming out with aplomb after working with Jospeh Steffan, a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman who was forced to resign after revealing his homosexuality – and soon won the praise and appreciation of famous gay clients including Meredith Baxter of Family Ties and former NBA star John Amaechi.
Bragman explained that he enjoys the challenges of working with anyone – straight or gay – and helping them confront difficult elements of their lives. And he’s become a popular expert on the subject of celebrity revelation, coming in a as a commentator for ABC news after events like Catherine Zeta-Jones’ recent disclosure concerning her struggle with bipolar disorder. What’s next for the so-called “Lone Ranger” of gay PR? Bragman says he’s getting ready to launch a book by Chastity Bono, Sonny and Cher’s daughter who recently underwent a sex-change operation to become a man.
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