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Chicago School CEO Huberman: Being Gay Offers Helpful Perspective


Friday night's Chicago Tonight with John Callaway on public television station WTTW featured a long interview with new Chicago Public Schools chief Ron Huberman, who was appointed after Obama appointed former chief Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education.

You may remember that Huberman came out publicly in February in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. Callaway asked Huberman why he decided to do so.

Replied Huberman: "Because she asked."

Callaway then asked Huberman whether he thought his sexuality gave him a special perspective in terms of his work: "I absolutely believe that [being gay] makes me more sensitive to the human condition, because it's something that, as you grow up, you identify yourself as somehow being different, as somehow belonging to a group that's not the norm. And so as I think of many of our kids, and certainly the lens by which they view the world, they also see themselves differently. And sometimes it has advantages, and sometimes it has disadvantages. But I believe being sensitive to it and thinking about it is very, very important as to how we structure programs and has to how we educate kids."

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Great dude. Oh, and he's hot to death!

    Posted by: Javier | Mar 30, 2009 11:32:46 AM

  2. "Pretty pretty"

    now what did he say?

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Mar 30, 2009 11:52:30 AM

  3. At last, a breath of sane cool air......and precise in his thought and purposeful in his direction. (my more carnal comments I'll subdue).

    Posted by: hephaistion | Mar 30, 2009 12:00:38 PM

  4. Very handsome!

    Posted by: ctprep | Mar 30, 2009 12:06:11 PM

  5. ah, how nice to see that cps finally has someone in charge who may actually be able to affect change. you have a community watching ron, make us proud.

    Posted by: Hunter Gabrielle | Mar 30, 2009 12:08:46 PM

  6. I have met him a few times socially. Very nice. Incredibly bright. Sort of socially ackward. I think its because he so smart. But again,very nice.

    Posted by: cb | Mar 30, 2009 12:19:50 PM

  7. For those of you who worry about images of gay men, and getting rid of stereotypes (or atleast countering them)--here's one for y'all. A former cop, and probably doesn't know who Judy Garland was.

    He looks tastier than the best Philly Cheese Steak! with fries.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 30, 2009 12:19:55 PM

  8. what a total hottie.

    Posted by: nic | Mar 30, 2009 12:21:35 PM

  9. While capable, this man is incredibly scared of being gay. He refuses to have his photo taken with other gay men, doesn't socialize with 'obviously' gay men, or like to be seen at gay events. As he said, he only came out because he was asked. I don't begrudge him any sucesss, and I'm sure he's very smart, but he's hardly a role model for the gay movement. Being gay, for this man, is something he thinks he has to 'deal with' not embrace.

    Posted by: John | Mar 30, 2009 12:26:38 PM

  10. CB

    Are you saying he might be a bit dorky???


    I loves me some dorkyness(inteligent and socialy akward).

    dorky (check)
    coco colored carmel man flesh (check)
    not a republican (check)

    now if he is tall to boot then I might have to stalk him


    Posted by: jimmyboy | Mar 30, 2009 12:28:52 PM

  11. "As he said, he only came out because he was asked."

    Uhh, I fail to see the problem with that. He's not hugely famous. He got appointed as CEO of Chicago schools and came out. He was already out to his family and friends. Considering how most gay people live their lives, I will not fault him in any way.

    Posted by: Billy | Mar 30, 2009 12:32:51 PM

  12. Wow! Handsome AND smart. I am REALLY hoping he doesn't become another Sam Adams.

    Posted by: Gregus | Mar 30, 2009 12:34:01 PM

  13. "something he has to deal with not embrace"........John, I don't think that it's holy writ that we all have to choose "embrace" rather than "deal with" are being a little bit doctrinaire. A lot of fellow gays need space ......I was looking at Jay Brannan's (the singer )blog about not wanting to be hog tied by the gay thing !

    Posted by: hephaistion | Mar 30, 2009 12:34:03 PM

  14. Really is all I heard.

    Posted by: Marc | Mar 30, 2009 12:34:14 PM

  15. That was a really good, and informative interview. This is why I hope and pray that public television never goes away. I can't say that I am a regular public TV viewer and that I contribute to their fundraising drives as often as I should.

    But there's something so fundamental about interviews like these that CNN, FOX et. al and the Sunday morning gabfests do not, have not, and apparently will not emulate. That is getting down to the person behind the desk, and picking their minds so cleanly of whatever knowledge they have that is pertinent to the topic of the moment.

    I liked that Callaway left the "Gay question" to the very end, after he gave Huberman ample opportunity to speak first as a hardworking, high-achieving, well-learned, public official, before he made it known to viewers who didn't already know, that Huberman is a gay man.

    See, it is people like him that we need out there who can illustrate that gay people are not all swishy, overly fashion-conscious, overtly sexual and, in some cases, extremely vile money/fame grubbing people with smart puns and comebacks. There are many of us who are simple-minded, goal- and career-oriented people from normal, All-American families with the same needs and aspirations as "Straights."

    That said, I wish Huberman only the very best in his job, and that he can inspire more people like him in public office and positions to be open about who they are. We seem to have made headway in that area, with openly gay people working in local and states governments and on television news. So kudos to all!

    Posted by: Rob | Mar 30, 2009 12:36:03 PM

  16. He came across as smart and focused on doing what's best to fix the broken Chicago school system.

    He is openly gay and IMO doesn't need to be waving a rainbow flag everywhere he goes. And, I say that as someone who wouldn't repress my flame even if I could.

    He hasn't set himself up as a role model for the gay movement. He is an openly gay person who is succeeding because he is effectively doing his job. That's enough of a role model for gay youth.

    Posted by: Michael Crawford | Mar 30, 2009 12:42:55 PM

  17. This is EXACTLY the kind of role model gay youth (and many adult gay men) need. Living his life openly while doing something meaningful and without all the "affectations" that many gay guys feel the need to take on. And MASCULINE to boot?! oh, yes......

    Posted by: Marlon | Mar 30, 2009 12:51:47 PM

  18. Dear Ron Huberman,

    Will you marry me?


    Posted by: peterparker | Mar 30, 2009 12:52:37 PM

  19. "... He hasn't set himself up as a role model for the gay movement. He is an openly gay person who is succeeding because he is effectively doing his job. That's enough of a role model for gay youth...."

    Thank you. You summed it all up pretty well there. Him being gay wasn't the/an issue of the interview or his appointment for the job, and isn't one for the responsibilities he's been tasked with.

    Just because he's said publicly that he's gay does not mean he has to have his photo taken with other gay men, or socialize with 'obviously' gay men, or have to be seen at gay events. Those have nothing to do with his job, which means all of that comes under his freedom to choose as a private citizen.

    Not all gay men like ballets, art exhibitions, dance clubs with pulsating electronic beats and 80s tracks blaring from speakers, or wearing designer tuxes and hanging out at GLAAD or HRH (or the local equivalents) balls and dinner parties.

    Being the CEO of a large and demanding education system, esp. like that of Chicago's, definitely does not sound easy and I would expect that Huberman would want to slip away for some personal downtime when his attention is not required. Stop hating, John @12:26PM

    Posted by: Rob | Mar 30, 2009 1:01:16 PM

  20. The comments by John are absurd. I know Ron and he has been to my home on several occasions for social events with other gay people. I've attended "gay" events with him and he is very at ease. He is a decent, thoughtful and brilliant man who just happens to be gay.

    If more gay men focused on who they are and what they can contribute vs. the shallow, self-absorbed, stereotype John seems to prefer, there might just be more role models like Ron.

    Posted by: Silly | Mar 30, 2009 1:31:40 PM

  21. A real MAN! If more gay men would calm down and work out our personal problems would lesson. How many effeminate gay men complain about the lack of masculine gay men? How about you do something about it and calm down and work out? Take up a hobby that will turn gay men on like Judo or wrestling. Gay men on average have higher levels of free testosterone than haterosexual males. Free testosterone is responsible for giving men their gender specific traits like a deep voice, broad shoulders, body hair, musculature etc. Gay men also have bigger dicks on average than heterosexual males.

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 30, 2009 1:32:02 PM

  22. Just because someone doesn't "burst" out of the closet doesn't mean he is "hiding". And how the hell do you know John who his friends are? From what I can tell, it is a well rounded group of people. Cops(yes,there are gay cops), woman, couples(both gay and straight). Also,like anyone with a brain,his life doesn't revolve bars and bar culture.
    He was asked if we was gay. He answered. End of story.

    Posted by: cb | Mar 30, 2009 1:38:04 PM

  23. "...have higher levels of free testosterone than haterosexual males."

    Mine must still be in bondage 'cause I aint gonna' ever ever butch it up....unless you can guarantee me that Huberman will leave his spouse for me. Shit, I'll go to the gym everyday for him...but I'll probably only be butch in front of him. In private, I'll still be doing Dietrich impersonations.

    ...ever seen gay couples like that? One partner is butch around his lover, but a flaming queen around everybody else? What pressure to put one's self under.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 30, 2009 1:55:42 PM

  24. He needs to swish it up a bit.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Mar 30, 2009 2:16:54 PM

  25. Yes,that's what we need. The superidentent of the CPS to "swish it up",in order to make homophobic homosexuals feel better about themselves. I find that insulting.

    So if he was black,would you ask him to sing a little song or eat fried chicken?

    Posted by: cb | Mar 30, 2009 2:27:27 PM

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