Jeremy Hooper, 35
New York City
When he founded his popular blog, Good as You, in 2005, Jeremy Hooper aimed to infuse the standard narrative among LGBT media with a pointed but irreverent analysis — and subsequent debunking — of the baseless accusations those opposed to LGBT equality often advance in support of discrimination.
"Our tone is light, but our message is firm," reads Good as You's "What's This?" page. "We will not sit back and be led to a society that favors discrimination over diversity."
In the subsequent decade, the out writer not only built his blog into a staple of progressive LGBT pushback to right-wing nutjobbery, but also got married, then became one half of the first gay couple ever profiled in Martha Stewart Weddings magazine, published a memoir (titled with Hooper's characteristic snark: If It's a Choice, My Zygote Chose Balls), and earned a reputation as an eloquent, passionate commentator who has been featured on major national news programs and magazines (including a profile and first-person piece in separate issues of The Advocate). Just in the past year, Hooper became a father and a special projects correspondent for GLAAD.
"For me, there's little sunlight between my political work and my personal life," Hooper tells The Advocate. "I got into the LGBT rights political fight because of a difficult family situation. My husband and I have since opened our doors to a major network's camera crew, allowed a national wedding magazine to feature our nuptials — their first same-sex union — and have gladly detailed our parenting journey. I also wrote a deeply personal book that uses my own narrative to make broader political points. All of it in hopes of cutting through the spin about what a gay person, and gay family, supposedly is."
With each new professional development, Hooper, now 35, has refined his style, but always retained his deeply personal connection to the causes he supports. In July he appeared on CNN to discuss a recent report that found the brain activity of gay men who are fathers is similar to that of both new mothers and fathers. Armed with his affable but poised personality and adorable photos of his daughter, Hooper brought the discussion to a relatable level, swooning over the first moment his eyes met his daughter's when she was crying for a bottle.
Indeed, Hooper's unapologetic wielding of his personal life as a tool for social change — from his marriage to Andrew Shulman to the birth and subsequent adoption of their daughter — has earned him a reputation among antigay activists, who have taken to personally attacking him. Last September, after new dad Hooper posted a series of photos and tweets about his infant daughter, noted homophobe Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, published a blog post focusing on how tragic it was that Hooper's daughter had "no mommy." LaBarbera closed his tweet with a reflection on the good "old days," when "gay activists didn't acquire babies."
Hooper's response was concise and pointed: "In their attempts to take down our strong families, they only expose their weaknesses."
Whether he's engaging in Twitter arguments with the antigay activists at the National Organization for Marriage or challenging Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly to hold accountable the reprehensible lies spread by antigay talking heads like Family Research Council leader Tony Perkins (whose organization has been designated an antigay "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center), seeking accountability for antigay rhetoric has become a hallmark of Hooper's work, especially as the curator of GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project.
In his newest role as GLAAD's special projects consultant, Hooper has most recently tackled the so-called ex-gays, interviewing people who claimed to have been turned straight by prayer, only to eventually announce that the scientifically discredited therapy actually harmed them. He's also taken on the so-called license to discriminate bills that are popping up in state legislatures nationwide, and challenged draconian efforts stateside to silence what right-wingers claim is "homosexual propaganda."
In the meantime, the stay-at-home dad continues to populate Good as You, regularly breaking news about the latest lies being advanced by the radical right wing. Hooper is active on Twitter, engaging his critics head-on in what has become a powerful pattern of calling out falsehoods and waiting for the head-spinning, antigay rhetoric to fall where it may and speak for itself.