Starting out in Hollywood: Hollywood Can Be a Tough Town, but It's Not Such a Bad Place to Be Gay

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AGE: 23 OCCUPATION: Assistant to the director of international servicing at PorchLight Entertainment STATUS: Single OUT SINCE: 18 ON BEING OUT IN THE BUSINESS: Shepard moved to Los Angeles the day after graduating from film school at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and after a temping strut landed at PorchLight--a film and TV distribution and Production company for family-oriented entertainment. Says Shepard: "It's hard to imagine being in a place where gay is a problem. My boss has a gay cousin. All my coworkers come to me with their anecdotes about their LGBT friends." As for what the future holds the pretty boy recently took a two-week course in stunt work, the highlight of which was "being set on fire." No matter where he ends up, Shepard is taking his time. "Its not that I'm not ambitious: it's just that I'm not in a rush."


AGE: 29 OCCUPATION: DJs dancers choreographers. music writers and producers STATUS: Doug is single: Derek has been in a relationship for the past year. OUT SINCE: 20 ON BEING OUT IN THE BUSINESS: The duo started as dancers in Rhode Island, where they formed their own company and eventually landed gigs dancing backup for gay artist Ari Gold and icons like Kristine W. This June they're releasing their first album Activate, and remixes for Funny Boy Films' upcoming Naked Boys Singing When asked about prejudice in the industry, they both laugh. "I think we have more of an issue with our age than anything else. People always think we are younger than we are."


AGE: 27 OCCUPATION: Development executive STATUS: Partnered for one year OUT SINCE: 26 ON BEING OUT IN THE BUSINESS: "I had to figure it out for myself," says Ryerson, who worked at a literary agency before landing as an assistant at Jerry Weintraub Productions. After coming out to friends and at work last year, Ryerson was promoted to the role of creative executive. "For the first few months I was really nervous. But it really doesn't hurt [to be out] in the entertainment industry. In fact, if anything, it might open doors." At Weintraub, Ryerson has been working on the Ocean's franchise and the upcoming Nancy Drew, but her eventual goal is to run a production company that makes movies with meaning that are also fun. As for her parents, Ryerson plans to come put to them at the same time this magazine hits newsstands. "I think I might just walk in and hand it to them."


AGE: 38 OCCUPATION: Hairstylist STATUS: Partnered (five years with his boyfriend, Angelo, a performer currently in The Lion King on Broadway) OUT SINCE: 20 ON BEING OUT IN THE BUSINESS: Gangi started cutting hair for his friends in college, and after working with extras on films and TV shows that were shooting in Boston, he made the leap to Los Angeles. …


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