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Chris Ryan.

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Party promoter // 27 // New York City

CHRIS RYAN's unusual path to his career as a Manhattan party promoter began with the word "fag." While a student at New Jersey's Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest, he saw the complacency of school officials regarding antigay taunts in the classroom and launched a successful campaign to talk with every educator in his school to increase sensitivity and develop an antiharassment policy. In 1999, Ryan took his efforts nationwide by founding Gay Youth Against Discrimination, a student-run organization that educates teachers and administrators about classroom harassment at hundreds of high schools and colleges across the country.

These days Ryan, who now runs Chris Ryan Productions & Promotions, makes sure to mix a dose of activism into his potent recipe of dance parties, go-go boys, and booze, served straight up at many of New York's liveliest nightclubs. His events have included fund-raising and awareness campaigns for the Anti-Violence Project, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, and other gay organizations. His wide network of contacts, which he began amassing through his Gay Youth Against Discrimination work, has allowed him to cross-pollinate his twin passions: social issues and socializing. "When you have such a large audience, I believe it's essential to use it for a good cause and not only for business purposes," he says. "I've made the lives of gays my business, and I'm not only here to show them how to have a good time but to also inform them of the issues."

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Title Annotation:Forty under 40: ENTERTAINMENT
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2009
Words:252
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