Jared Milrad & husband ,Nathan Johnson
Awesome Chat with Jared Milrad
1. S.A.- Jared what inspired you to write the book, “So, You Want To Get (Gay) Married?”
Jared– In April 2015, my husband Nate and I were featured in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign launch commercial (“Getting Started“), making us the first openly gay couple to appear in a major party presidential announcement. As the video made news around the world and was seen more than 10 million times, we heard from LGBTQ youth and allies in every corner of the globe, many of whom asked a simple
question: “What is your story?”
After we got married in July 2015, we wanted to share that story with the world – not only to inspire LGBTQ youth beginning to think about their future, but to share a bit of wisdom and hopefully a few laughs with our audience.
2. S.A. – What differences do you see growing up now in the LGBTQ community, than when you were growing up in the LGBTQ community?
Jared– When I was growing up, I didn’t know marriage was even possible for same-sex couples – and frankly, having yet to accept my own identity, I didn’t think about same-sex relationships through a lens that was in any way applicable to my own life. I only saw a small sliver of what it meant to be gay, often in fleeting examples on TV or in film.
Now, the landscape for the LGBTQ community has completely transformed. My generation is the most accepting, affirming, and diverse generation in American history, and we’ve led the way in building popular support for marriage equality and LGBTQ rights. The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the transformation of laws around LGBTQ discrimination certainly shows that we’ve made progress – but we still have a way to go, including in our workplaces, at our schools, and on our streets. That said, now is certainly the best time to be LGBTQ in American history and to share our stories openly – especially considering the dark past we’ve overcome.
3. S.A. – How do you feel about all the different labels being thrown around & added it seems like daily there’s a new letter (label) in our LGBTQ community?
Jared– What I’ve always loved about the LGBTQ community – and one of the reasons it gives me great pride to be part of it – is that it’s the most welcoming, affirming, and accepting community that I’ve ever seen. There are certainly corners of our community that are less welcoming than others – and we should continue to build greater acceptance and celebration of our differences, including in terms of race, class, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation. But what we shouldn’t do is turn our back on anyone who wants to be part of our community, which can and has saved lives and given people of all backgrounds hope.
4. S.A. – As a leader & activist what is your greatest accomplishment?
J– In 2002, when I was a freshman in college at North Carolina State University, I led an initiative to change how the university sourced animals for biology labs and other educational uses. My efforts led me to join the Student Senate, launch the first animal protection organization on campus, and garner international attention. We ended up winning modest changes to the university’s animal use policy, but as important, I learned about the often dormant power that each of us has to make a difference.
5. S.A. – Why was writing the book , “So, You Want To Get (Gay) Married” so important to you and your partner, Nate?
Jared– As we began thinking about writing the book, we realized that there were few – if any – relationship self-help guides written from the perspective of a same-sex couple. Given our own experiences growing up, we wanted to provide young people of all backgrounds with stories and role models that speak to their own realities. We hope So, You Want To Get (Gay) Married provides some insight for the next generation thinking about their future – but also that it reaches people of all ages and backgrounds who may relate to our story in surprising ways.
Particularly now, when LGBTQ rights are increasingly under attack in many parts of the country and world, we want to offer a positive and approachable example of the same-sex marriage experience – which in many ways aligns closely with the experience of any young couple.
6. S.A.- Jared if you had a message you could share with the world, what would it be?
Jared– Above all else, be true to the better angels of your nature – and live out a truth that adds value to the rest of the world, leaving it a little bit better, more equal, free and fair than you found it.
7. S.A. – What can we look forward to next from from Jared?
Jared- After the presidential election, I launched We Won’t Go Back, a people-powered movement for Americans of all backgrounds to protect our nation’s highest ideals of inclusivity, opportunity, and equality. We recently filmed a launch video for the campaign, which we’ll be releasing in mid-December. We hope to engage a diverse community of Americans in our work moving forward.
In addition, I will be releasing my short film, Office Party, in January 2017. Several other projects are planned for next year as well.
The Future of Jared Milrad
In addition, Jared is also getting ready to release of his brand new short film “Office Party” (due out online in December). “Office Party” tells the story of Tom (Josh Trant ) and Jack (Jared Milrad ), two co-workers who, tired of the same old corporate routine, plan a forgettable surprise.
The short is intended to raise awareness about the urgent public health epidemic of gun violence and mental illness in the United States. It is an urgent reminder of the danger that lurks just beneath the surface, with more than 33,000 people killed every year by gun violence in the United States.
Ultimately, Jared Milrad’s goal is to build a world that is more engaged in public service, more committed to our shared humanity, and more conscious of the opportunities and challenges that await in a more inclusive, equal, and just future.