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PHOTOS: Queer as Folk’s Clunie and Supermodel Kroell Visit DC for GLAAD Panel

13 Oct

Last night, at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, GLAAD’s DC Leadership Council in cooperation with the Reel Affirmations LGBT Film Festival presented “Out of the Closet and on to the Screen: A Generation of Queer Film.”

The panel was moderated by award-winning journalist Chris Geidner and featured Ronnie Kroell – Star of Bravo’s Make Me a Supermodel, June 2010 Playgirl Cover Model, films – Eating Out: Drama Camp, Into the Lion’s Den, Michelle Clunie Queer as Folk, Make It or Break It, Brad Bell – star and writer of “Husbands,” Bob Mondello – National Public Radio’s Arts Critic, and Stephen L. Forssell – GWU Lecturer, LGBT Family Research Expert and GW student filmmaker of I Am Sara Snyder.

The discussion was thorough and covered everything from the first appearance of gay people on film to the evolution of gay film on the internet. Please enjoy our photos from last night. All photos copyright Jamie McGonnigal,

Meet Ronnie Kroell: Playgirl Cover Model, Actor, Activist and in DC This Week!

10 Oct

Ronnie Kroell in June 2010's Playgirl Magazine

On Wednesday, October 12th at 7pm, the GLAAD DC Leadership Council in cooperation with Reel Affirmations is proud to present Out of the Closet and Onto the Screen: A Generation of Queer Film. Happily, both writers on this site sit on the Leadership Council and  are thrilled to be helping with this event.

Moderated by MetroWeekly’s Chris Geidner, the star-studded panel is scheduled to include Ronnie Kroell – Star of Bravo’s Make Me a Supermodel, June 2010 Playgirl Cover Model, films – Eating Out: Drama Camp, Into the Lion’s Den,  Michelle Clunie – Queer as Folk, Make It or Break It, Bob Mondello – National Public Radio’s Arts Critic, and Stephen L. Forssell – GWU Lecturer, LGBT Family Research Expert.

We spoke to our friend, Ronnie Kroell about his own history, his career as an out actor and model and the premiere of his film, Into the Lion’s Den, happening at the Reel Affirmations Film Festival on Sunday, October 16th at 9pm.

Me & Ronnie Kroell

TAE: Before coming out, did you find any inspiration from LGBT films?

RK: Broken Hearts Club really had a major impact on me because it showed gay men in a very real and everyday way. The story of this particular group of friends was heartwarming and really made an impact on my life. And of course, I had a major crush on Dean Cain.

TAE: As an out actor and model and Playgirl cover, have you had any career challenges that you think may be due to your being out?

RK: If I have, I am not aware of them. I have never let my personal orientation stand in my way of getting what I want.

Ronnie Kroell in Into the Lion's Den

TAE: What can you tell us about the premiere of your latest film, Into the Lion’s Den?

RK: Into the Lion’s Den, written by Philip Malaczewski, is a cross between the warm depiction of the relationship between three close friends and a horribly twisted and dark nightmare. Working alongside Jesse Archer and Kristen Alexzander-Griffith was a real treat! It felt like we really were on a road-trip together – much like that of the story of our characters, but minus all the blood and suspense. We certainly had fun making this film and hope that the audience will enjoy this dark, yet humorous thriller – directed by Dan Lantz in association with Breaking Glass Pictures.

Ronnie Kroell as MC at a New York Fundraiser

RK: Our biggest challenges believe it or not reside within the community itself. We must take it upon ourselves to clean up our own act and start practicing what we are preaching to the community at large. At the heart of the work that must be done is ACCEPTANCE. We still are a community that is having trouble reconciling differences with-in the sub-groups of LGBT, especially where race and gender identity is concerned. Furthermore, if we want the community at large to be more accepting of us we too have to be more accepting of them by eliminating words like, “breeder” from our vocabulary and purposefully tearing down the walls between the “gay neighborhoods” and the “straight” neighborhoods. It’s important to have a sense of community and to celebrate our diversity, but true equality will be reached when we no longer have the need for a “Gay Neighborhood”.

When we can finally live amongst each other without fear of holding our boyfriend or girlfriend’s hand in public, when we can stop focusing on the superficial layers of who we are and celebrate our similarities, when we can reach down and find compassion once again in our hearts – that is when we will have achieved success in this movement. We must stay the course and continue to build bridges between the LGBT Community and our Allies, we must remember to say thank-you and appreciate the victories along the way, and we must never EVER give-up. I envision a more perfect Union where we move beyond these labels and can focus all of our energies on issues that desperately need our attention, ie: healthcare, education, and economy. We cannot afford to sit on the side-lines in complacency, now is the time for ACTION.

Ronnie Kroell

TAE: Do you believe more mainstream LGBT films such as Brokeback Mountain and Milk will ultimately help or hurt the production of more independent films such as the Eating Out series or Trick?

RK: Producing more mainstream LGBT films will never hurt the production of more independent films – there will always be a market for them. I do hope that more mainstream films are produced because it effectively reaches a much larger audience and educates the masses about the community, past – present – and future goals. I don’t think mainstream and independent LGBT film are necessarily mutually exclusive – we can have both, that’s the cool part!


NY Marriage Equality: How Did We Get There? A Photo Retrospective

26 Jun

I moved from New York to Washington DC three weeks ago to be with my boyfriend. It’s hard not to still consider New York City home after nearly 13 years living there, but after last night – my struggle to move on became even more difficult. For the past several years, I’ve proudly fought alongside some incredible activists, lobbyists, politicians and allies in the struggle for equality. And last night in New York, we finally won.

I thought of writing a diatribe about how much we have to learn from this victory – how for one of the first times in our movement’s history, we worked together to accomplish something. I could be heavy-handed and speak endlessly at the incredible work done by this partnership of several organizations all working towards the same thing. I could even go so far as to reflect on the fact that even though we have this beautiful victory at long last, that there are still 1,138 rights not afforded to legally married gay and lesbian couples and that we MUST focus on equality on the federal level. But instead, I decided to post some photos.

For the past 3+ years, I’ve discovered a love for photography and in my own way, I’ve been documenting some of the movement from my perspective as a New Yorker. So please enjoy these photos which reflect some of my favorite moments and people involved in the recent part of our struggle for equality. Please note: there are photos here from swanky cocktail parties, from pride marches, from rallies, protests, political speeches, phone banks and even a living room or two. New York Marriage Equality happened because of ALL of it, not some.

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All photos copyright Jamie McGonnigal,

What Do a Playgirl Model, Miss New York and the Village People Have in Common?

2 Feb

Ronnie Kroell (photo by Melissa June Daniels)

Tonight, I was glad to be on the host committee for the birthday party of my supermodel, playgirl coverboy friend, Ronnie Kroell. Now…Talk About Equality is not here to chat about a birthday party – but when that birthday party is attended by Miss New York, Claire Buffie – the first Miss America contestant to choose LGBT equality as her platform, Village Person Randy Jones, Friends Project Founder David Raleigh and the whole thing benefits the Ali Forney Center for Homeless LGBT Youth – you can bet Talk About Equality had reason to go.

I had a wonderful conversation with Carl Siciliano, the Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center. He’s had a long year with lots of ups and downs. For several weeks, the center was in real trouble when Mayor Bloomberg announced enormous cuts to their budget, leaving LGBT homeless kids in the streets. Shortly after Bloomberg’s plans were announced, the Mayor released an “It Gets Better” video. Siciliano released a scathing response calling the Mayor out for his hypocritical message claiming New York is a wonderful place for LGBT kids to move to, while at the same time slashing the budget for the kids who move here without a home. The funds ended up being restored by Speaker Christine Quinn and the City Council and in the meantime, a light has been cast on this important issue.

Ronnie Kroell, In Between Men and In Between Woman, Michelle Clunie

The party was also a reason to watch the new online series, In Between Men featuring TAE friend, Nick Mathews. The series is a sort of “Sex in the City” for white gay men. Sure sure…we already have that…and it’s called “Sex in the City,” but, according to the creator of the show, Quincy Morris, he was looking to bring characters to life that he related to. He wanted to bring to life some multi-dimensional gay characters who were more like the gay men he knew. Though a male actor of color would certainly be welcome in the hit online series – it was great to see the cast show up for this wonderful evening.

We hope to see more attention being paid to our homeless youth this year. As I discussed with Carl, it’s wonderful to teach LGBT kids that It Gets Better, but more needs to be done to reach out to educate parents. So many kids are kicked out of their homes upon coming out to their parents. Maybe that’s the next step – maybe we need an “It Gets Better: PFLAG Edition” to educate the parents and families of kids that are coming out.

A quick shout-out to MS Apothecary, who was selling products to benefit the Ali Forney Center – I’m excited to light my soy candle!

All photos copyright Jamie McGonnigal,

As delicious as they look, they are actually "Bath bombs" by MS Apothecary

Miss New York, Claire Buffie

Birthday Boy Ronnie Kroell

Randy Jones and In Between Men's Nick Mathews

Actor and Birthday Boyfriend, Taylor Proffitt

Ali Forney Center Executive Director, Carl Siciliano

The In Between Men and Village Person Randy Jones

Happy Birthday Ronnie!