Gathered on the sidewalk outside a posh West Hollywood private fundraiser for Equality California, John Gile was in his element, happening upon, as he exclaimed, “Some of my favorite people!”
And it was a kind of defining clutch of personalities, a group that in many ways sums up Gile’s impressive ability to bring important people together: Cecilia Cabello, California State Director for Pete Butigieg’s presidential campaign (perhaps the busiest political influencer in Los Angeles); Bruce Roberts, one of the music world’s most prolific songwriters (if you are humming Barbra Streisand, Donna Summer or Dolly Parton, he probably wrote it) and currently launching Vote Proud with former Oprah executive Lisa Halliday, a major national Get Out the Vote effort for the LGBT community; and Kevin James, president of the powerful Los Angeles Board of Public Works.
In other words, some of the most well connected people in the country, all waiting on a Lyft or an Uber or a private driver, and, like Gile, off to the next event.
“We’ll see you later,” he says with hugs and kisses all around as everyone dashes away.
Gile himself was just whizzing through the Birds Street event in the Hills that included a disarming array of not-to-be-named celebrity donors, political mavens, candidates for California Senate, future and former mayors of West Hollywood and Los Angeles.
It truly is Gile’s element. And he is good at it.
During a career that spans more than 20 years, Gile, a life-long Angeleno, has mastered the art of bringing the world of philanthropy and politics together and in the process served as a CEO of Project Angel Food in Los Angeles and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
He has developed a consulting practice that now operates bicoastally in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Washington, D.C. He is a prolific volunteer for the Buttigieg campaign, ambassador to Project Angel Food, an adviser to San Francisco’s Gay Men’s Chorus’ National LGBTQ Center for the Arts, lead fundraiser for West Hollywood’s $5 million AIDS Monument, served as 2016 Co-Chair of Hillary Clinton for President, Co-Chair of the DNC LGBT Leadership Committee, President of the Friends of Runyon Foundation and was adviser to President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.
And that’s for starters.
“Please don’t tell him I said this,” said one of his many admirers requesting anonymity, “but without John lots of us would just never show up. And a lot of our agencies would suffer a power outage. I go where he advises me to go. And I do it because he is so damned charming and handsome and smart.”
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I came out late — at 25 — and it was most difficult to tell my girlfriend. But we remain best of friends and I am her son’s godfather.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present?
Revolver and certain nighttime AA meetings.
Describe your dream wedding.
West Street Beach Laguna (Orange County’s most popular gay beach).
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
What historical outcome would you change?
The 2016 election.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Elizabeth Taylor’s 65th birthday party at Pantages Theater, a night that will never be forgotten.
On what do you insist?
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
On Feb. 24, I posted on Twitter and Facebook about the Democratic primary popular vote so far.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
From Harvard and Dartmouth to Chico State
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I’m proudly gay and will stay that way.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe we can all access our Higher Power.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
What would you walk across hot coals for?
To remove the current occupant of the White House.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
I don’t like this question. I think it’s important to get out of our comfort zones.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
What’s the most overrated social custom?
I try to be mindful of people’s differences.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
A World Series ring.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
All will be well. You can have a really great life living sober.
Why Los Angeles?
It’s five minutes from anything and perfect weather.