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Tony Biel.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Volunteer organizer // 35 // Los Angeles

LIKE MANY PEOPLE motivated after seeing Milk, Tony Biel was called to action--in the hills of Malibu and the industrial district of southeast Los Angeles. Biel founded Gay for Good, a community service organization aimed at getting gay people "out of the scene and working alongside other people"--an opportunity, he says, to start a dialogue sorely missing in the weeks leading up to November 4. A media sales rep by day, Biel also oversees a popular L.A.-based gay hiking group, Take-a-Hike, so he had the e-mail addresses of more than 1,000 potential volunteers when he and friends Steve Gratwick and Frank Roller decided to make Gay for Good a reality. In the six months since Biel launched the project, Gay for Good volunteers have twice gotten their hands dirty with Tree People, helping to reforest the hills of Malibu after last year's fires; they've also stuffed food packages at the L.A. Regional Food Bank. "People have been really supportive--volunteer organizers especially ... knowing what's been going on with Prop. 8, they feel we've been slighted, and they're eager to get us in there." The group's next projects will be with Habitat for Humanity and more environmental cleanup-this time at the Ballona Wetlands. "[Gay people] need to get out of our insular communities," Biel says. "When we do that, people see we're not scary and that we're frequently working toward the same goals."

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Forty under 40: ACTIVISM
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2009
Words:243
Previous Article:Amy Balliett.
Next Article:Brad Sears.
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