Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13



POLITICS Gay media owner to run for Chicago mayor
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 4835 times since Wed Apr 6, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Dennis J. "DJ" Doran—the openly gay owner of the LGBTQ+-focused Aequalitas Media—is planning a run for Chicago mayor.

Doran, a Lake View resident, has acknowledged he is an outsider—but he also believes that designation is an asset as well. In an exclusive with Windy City Times, Doran, 62, discussed his background, ideas and personal revelations far ahead of the 2023 election.

Windy City Times: For our readers, provide a little background about yourself.

DJ Doran: Sure. I'm originally from New York. I joined the Air Force when I was 18 and traveled all over the world. I got out of the Air Force and I eventually made it to Chicago and have lived here the last eight or nine years, give or take.

I've always been an entrepreneur. I've had construction companies and all sorts of different businesses. In 2009, when the economy was collapsing, my husband and I bought a sailboat; we lived on that for three years in San Francisco. During that time, I got bored and bought a publishing company. When I bought it, it was a straight magazine; it failed spectacularly, but I learned about publishing—and I told my husband, "That's what I want to do. I have a passion for publishing."

So I bought my very first newspaper in Indianapolis. From there, I built my company, and, now, Aequalitas Media is the second-largest LGBT media company in the country, behind Pride Media.

I've always enjoyed watching politics but I didn't want to get involved in something so dirty. But recently, I've been thinking that I've been under the radar for so many years, and I want to make a positive impact. I said, "Stop complaining and get involved." I thought about running for alderman or the school board, but a friend of mine said, "Listen, DJ—you're not a school board or alderman guy. If you do this, you have to run for the top job. And no matter how bad you think you are, you're going be better than what we currently have." I thought about it for about a month and then decided I'm going to [run for mayor].

My focus is not on being a longtime politician or a lifelong bureaucrat. I want to reach the people and say, "I'm just like you. I'm a businessman and I struggled to make it; some months are better than others. I'm just trying to live my best life."

What I've realized is that the more I've learned about Chicago politics, the more that I realize that even seven terms wouldn't be enough to solve all the problems. What I've learned is that leaders inspire others to do their best. When you see the police department turn its back when the mayor walks into a room, or when the fire department is not willing to work with her and all these organizations not willing to work together, how do you run a city?

I have strength of leadership. I may not have all the other qualifications, but I have that. I supported Mayor Lightfoot 100 percent when she was elected, but I'm disappointed in her leadership and in what she's done for the city, and I'm absolutely disappointed in the way she conducts herself with all the organizations in the city. It's not good leadership to be a bully or to be vulgar and divisive. Sometimes, you have to make unpopular decisions—but you must conduct yourself in a professional manner.

WCT: Besides the way you say the current mayor conducts business, what are other issues you have with her actions?

DJD: There are a few. One is that I don't think she's been very proactive in terms of getting things done; she's been a reactionary mayor.

The second thing is that I'm not a big fan of how she handled things during the pandemic. When people were fearful and the [looting] happened, I don't think she stepped up enough to let people know she had control of the situation. Now I don't have a lot of insight regarding how she runs day-to-day operations, but I see what everyone else sees on the news. When you have 50 aldermen voicing their displeasure with you… You should be aligned with your city council.

The other thing is that, ultimately, a leader is a figurehead to the people—someone people can relate to and trust. I think the mayor has failed miserably to get people to believe they can trust her to lead and that she plays well with others. When you have adversaries that close to you, they're going to do everything possible to hinder you.

WCT: You've said you're still learning about Chicago politics. Even though you and your husband have been in Chicago for a few years, are you concerned that you'll be viewed as too much of an outsider, given that a lot of your connections are outside the city?

DJD: First of all, I don't think people care about me being an outsider. I've been here nine years, so I'm not completely an outsider—although I'm an outsider when it comes to Chicago politics.

I'm a businessman and a pilot, actually. I don't just hop into a plane; I create a flight plan. So one of the things I've learned from chatting with people in the Democratic Party and PR companies is that nobody will take my campaign seriously or credibly until I raise money. Money is power, and where that money comes from doesn't matter, in my view. Otherwise, this is just a hobby.

WCT: Just curious: Who's your political role model?

DJD: Oh, there are so many. I've really looked at parties as my only source of inspiration. For instance, I thought Ronald Reagan was a great communicator; I didn't like his policies but he got people to believe that he cared. I thought Bill was and still is one of the most talented politicians I've ever seen; quite frankly, if he had handled the Monica Lewinsky scandal differently, he'd probably be considered one of the greatest presidents of the modern era. I think FDR made people feel everything was great while in the middle of World War II. I thought Barack Obama—who I met at a conference recently—was great. I didn't always agree with his policies, either, and I thought he relied too much on executive orders—but he struck me as being personable, intelligent and articulate, and I could see how inspirational he can be.

I feel that it's that quality that's missing. I'm a registered Democrat but I want to lead the whole city. Why can't we have bipartisan cooperation? I'm going to come in wanting to build a consensus; it's about crossing the aisle.

WCT: But do you have to really worry about crossing the aisle in Chicago?

DJD: You don't have to worry about it in Chicago, but everyone has different agendas. You need to find common ground there.

WCT: What do you think is the biggest problem for the LGBTQ+ community in Chicago?

DJD: Well… I have to say I'm not sure what the biggest problem is for the LGBTQ community. That's going to be part of my journey—finding out things like that.

We were at a restaurant recently in Boystown [now designated as Northalsted] recently. I was telling one of the servers I was running for mayor and he said, "Oh—please do! We need better leadership." Apparently, after hours in Boystown, it becomes very dangerous. I didn't know that; I live in the Lake View East area and I'm not out that late anymore. He said we need a stronger police presence and people who are invested in the community. And I thought, "Wow—Lake View is a reasonably affluent area. Why is it having these issues?"

I think the LGBTQ community is particularly sensitive about crime. When I go to conferences, the number-one concern from the LGBTQ community is safety. So I'd say the number-one thing is being safe.

WCT: Every aspect of a political candidate's life is scrutinized. Keeping that in mind, you recently posted, "Truth of the Day: Today sucked. It started out amazing, but I was quickly reminded that people who preach about being full of integrity and trustworthiness rarely are. They speak glowingly to your face, but their hearts are filled with backstabbing gossip and betrayal. It seems that these are the earned hallmarks of so many in the LGBTQ+ community, especially in LGBTQ+ media. Is it any wonder why we are so often viewed as small, petty and inconsequential[?]"

Would you like to get out in front of this quote, being a member of the LGBTQ+ community?

DJD: I personally stand behind that post 100 percent and this is why: I've been in the LGBTQ media for 15 years. I've seen people betrayed from gossiping or not showing integrity. One thing I've learned and want to get across, Andrew—and this is going to be the hallmark of my campaign—is that who you see is who you get.

One of the common questions I hear is "Why aren't the LGBTQ media and community taken seriously? Why won't [openly gay United States Secretary of Transportation and former presidential candidate] Pete Buttigieg speak with us?" He won't because they always complain he's not gay enough or something else, and they never pay attention to the story—and he finally got tired of it.

I understand that everybody loves to gossip, but there's a difference saying, "Hey, did you hear this?" and saying one thing and acting differently behind someone's back. I wonder if we aren't taken seriously because we're our own worst enemy. If I'm not happy with something, I'll say it—but I won't be vulgar about it.

WCT: What are your biggest advantage and disadvantage in this race?

DJD: Great question! My biggest advantage (and disadvantage) is that I'm not a political insider. I don't have any connections in the city and I don't owe anyone any political favors; I'm blissfully ignorant about Chicago politics, right now. The other advantage is that I'm looking at this as a yearlong campaign to be hired.

What a good leader is have a strong team of competent people around him. I'm a CEO—I'm not a social-media person, accountant or Web designer, but I let them bring their talents to the table and I'm not a micromanager. And I have the strength of character to do what's right.

My disadvantages are that I have no political infrastructure or experience, and I'm not a lifelong politician and I don't know the key people—yet. But what is the mayor, ultimately? That person is the CEO, and I've held that office.

WCT: In the past two years—with the COVID pandemic and racial awakening some have had—there's been a lot of time for self-reflection. What have you learned about yourself?

DJD: Interesting… What I've learned is that I'm a product of my upbringing—and that's a scary thing. As a boomer, you've had a certain way of doing things but the universe, if you're open to it, will shake up your world. What happened to me is that I've met people from different backgrounds, such as non-binary and transgender people, who I did not grow up with—but who I've learned from, and who I share a humanity with. I'm a boomer, but an open-minded one. You look past someone's sexual orientation or gender identity and realize we're all human beings.

Doran's website is .

This article shared 4835 times since Wed Apr 6, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

Q FORCE launches 2024 election efforts in Chicago 2024-04-14
- More than 100 people attended the launch of 2024 election efforts by Q FORCE Midwest Action Group at Sidetrack April 12. Q FORCE is a Chicago-based, all-volunteer, grassroots movement organizing to recruit and activate "at least ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Trans woman killed, Tenn. law, S. Carolina coach, Evan Low, Idaho schools 2024-04-12
- Twenty-four-year-old Latina trans woman and makeup artist Meraxes Medina was fatally shot in Los Angeles, according to the website them, citing The Los Angeles Times. Authorities told the Times they found Medina's broken fingernail and a ...

Gay News

LPAC, Arizona LGBTQ officials denounce Arizona Supreme Court ruling on abortion 2024-04-10
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Yesterday, in a decision that starkly undermines reproductive freedoms, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled to enforce a 160-year-old law that criminalizes abortion and penalizes healthcare providers who ...

Gay News

Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison announces inaugural Cook County LGBTQ+ Youth Art Competition 2024-04-10
--From a press release - Schaumburg, Ill. — April 9, 2024 — Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison recently announced the firs ever LGBTQ+ Youth Art Competition. The competition's theme is "Pride is Power!" and will set the ton for Pride celebrations ...

Gay News

For Deb Robertson, the end-of-life issue is very real 2024-04-07
- For just about everyone, life is hard enough. However, talking about ending that life—especially when one is terminally ill—is just as difficult. Ten states have authorized medical aid in dying, although Illinois is not one of ...

Gay News

KFF survey shows extent of LGBT-related discrimination 2024-04-07
- KFF—an independent source of health policy research, polling and journalism—released "LGBT Adults' Experiences with Discrimination and Health Care Disparities: Findings from the KFF Survey of Racism, Discrimination, and Health." This ...

Gay News

Lightfoot may be hired to investigate Dolton mayor, trustees 2024-04-06
- A group of Dolton trustees is aiming to hire former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot—who is also an ex-federal prosecutor—to investigate Mayor Tiffany Henyard, media outlets reported. The group wants Lightfoot ...

Gay News

NATIONAL mpox, Trans+ Day of Visibility, police items, Best Buy, Gentili's death 2024-04-05
- The CDC has concluded that mpox cases are on the rise in the United States, increasing to almost double what they were at the same time last year, according to ABC News. There is a national year-to-date estimate of 511 cases ...

Gay News

Ugandan court mostly upholds harsh anti-LGBTQ+ law 2024-04-04
- On April 3, Uganda's constitutional court refused to annul or suspend an anti-LGBTQ+ law that includes the death penalty for certain same-sex acts, Reuters reported. However, the judicial body voided some provisions that it said were ...

Gay News

How safe are we really? A look into Illinois' LGBTQ+ protections as hate rises nationwide 2024-04-02
- Illinois has long been known to have some of the strongest LGBTQ+ legal protections in the country. Its first anti-discrimination laws go back several decades, and the state boasts a wide variety of protections of LGBTQ+ ...

Gay News

Q Force initiative looks to 'save democracy' by getting out the vote 2024-04-01
- The Q Force Midwest Force Action Group initiative wants to save democracy-and they've hit the ground running to ensure President Biden wins reelection this November. The initiative of LGBTQ+ organizers and volunteers seeks to invigorate voters ...

Gay News

Chicago's transgender community kicks off Transgender Week of Visibility with daylong conference, resource fair 2024-03-30
- Transgender community leaders, allies and politicians kicked off a weeklong celebration of transgender visibility in Chicago with a one-day conference and resource fair. More than 100 community members attended the ...

Gay News

White House issues proclamation on 2024 Transgender Day of Visibility 2024-03-29
- A PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: On Transgender Day of Visibility, we honor the extraordinary courage and contributions of transgender Americans and reaffirm our Nation's commitment to forming a more perfect ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Political candidates, flag controversy, HRC gala, New York Times, Disney 2024-03-29
- In California, of the historic 30 LGBTQ+ legislative candidates who ran in the March 5 primary, more than half are moving on to the fall ballot, The Bay Area Reporter noted. Based on the still unofficial ...

Gay News

Thailand parliament passes landmark marriage bill 2024-03-27
- On March 27, Thailand's parliament approved a marriage-equality bill by an overwhelmingly large margin—a landmark step that moves one of Asia's most liberal countries closer to legalizing same-sex unions, media ...


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.