Forty Under 40: Activism

Amy Balliett heads up an impressive list of out activists that includes Tony Biel, Brad Sears, Thai Pham, James Neiley, Christoph Babka, Katelynn Cusanelli, and Timothy Scofield.




Christoph Babka | TV producer | 29 | Los Angeles

Resolutely positive and do-goody Christoph Babka came out of the closet 11 years ago in New Jersey in a relative vacuum. "I didn't really know much about the gay community. I tried to learn as fast as I could from TV and movies," he says, taking cues from Will & Grace and Ellen on TV and the films The Twilight of the Golds and The Wedding Banquet. Perhaps appropriately, Babka now lives in Los Angeles and spends a lot of his time and energy in LGBT volunteer work and fund-raising. And it's in this milieu that he's found his proverbial home. As chairman of the Young Professionals Council at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, Babka, whose day job is being executive producer for a TV promo company, commands a brigade of politically active under-40 gay men and women. He's part event planner, part fund-raiser. With one call on his iPhone, a small army of Hollywood power gays can populate a gala or raise thousands of dollars. The council raised $122,000 in 2008 alone, which went to support the center. "We have little to no overhead for our events and seek the selfless generosity of our peers in the community to actively engage them into becoming donors to the center," he says. "Being gay goes beyond going out and going to parties -- a core part of it is fighting for equal rights."