Segarra, As Role Model, Cited As "Most Compelling"
By JENNA CARLESSO
November 17, 2010
When Mayor Pedro Segarra took office in June, he had a long list of things he hoped to accomplish.
Being honored along with celebrities like pop singer Ricky Martin and actor Nathan Lane wasn't one of them.
But that's what happened when Out magazine named the mayor as one of 2010's "most compelling people" for his accomplishments as a role model for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
About a month ago, Segarra traveled to New York City to be part of a star-studded photo shoot for Out. Today, he will be there again for a social gathering with the honorees.
"When I looked at some of the people surrounding me, I thought, this is really incredible," Segarra, Hartford's first openly gay mayor, said of the photo shoot. "I felt like I was a star."
Out, a popular gay and lesbian magazine, chose 100 people from the LGBT community who "made big impressions on the cultural and social fabrics of this year," according to the publication's website.
The honor brought Segarra to the Pierre Hotel in New York City, where he was photographed with Jordan Pious, a winner of "The Amazing Race" TV reality show; Ellie Schafer, director of the White House visitors office; Ebs Burnough, Michelle Obama's deputy social secretary; and Bruce Seidel, a senior vice president of program planning who brought shows like "Iron Chef America" to the Food Network.
The photograph is featured on the magazine's website in a gallery that also includes images of Martin, actress Julianne Moore and Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir.
"Pedro Segarra became the second openly gay mayor of a U.S. state capital when he stepped into the shoes of a disgraced predecessor to oversee the affairs of Hartford, Conn.," editors of Out.com wrote on the magazine's website. "He has wasted little time reducing city health care costs, boosting the tax collection rate and announcing plans to demolish the city's notorious 'butt ugly building' on Main Street. For that alone, he'll receive the everlasting thanks of his 124,000-strong constituency."
Segarra replaced former Mayor Eddie Perez, who resigned in June following his conviction on five felony corruption charges. As city council president, Segarra became mayor by default, stepping in at a time when public trust in city government had dipped significantly.
Segarra pointed out that while many of the magazine's honorees are regarded for their talents in the entertainment industry, they are also staunch supporters of gay and lesbian rights.
The mayor has testified at the state Capitol on behalf of gay marriage, marched in gay pride parades and said he hopes to be a role model for the LGBT community.
"I especially want to be a role model for gay Puerto Rican politicians," he said. "Of [all] the towns in Puerto Rico, I don't know of one openly gay mayor there."
When Segarra travels to New York City today for the social gathering, "I hope Ricky Martin shows up," he said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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