Journalist & Radio Host
b. December 19, 1960
“When it comes to LGBT civil rights, as with other marginalized groups, our fundamental personhood is not an issue that has two sides.”
Michelangelo Signorile is an outspoken American journalist, author and radio personality. He gained notoriety in the 1990s for using his media platform to “out” well-known public figures and closeted anti-gay public officials.
Signorile was born in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in journalism. After college he moved to Manhattan and gradually came out to his friends and family.
In the early 1980s, Signorile worked for an entertainment public relations firm where he witnessed the carefully orchestrated closeting of gay celebrities. In the late 1980s, he became an HIV/AIDS activist and joined the media committee of ACT UP to highlight the epidemic. By this time, he had concluded that public figures who kept their homosexuality hidden were hurting the gay rights movement and the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Signorile cofounded a New York LGBT weekly and first ignited controversy in 1990 with a cover story “outing” the late publishing magnate Malcolm Forbes. He subsequently outed Defense Department official Pete Williams, at a time when gays were banned from the military, and the actress Jodie Foster, among others. Though Signorile’s views on the subject were contentious, he made a strong case for outing powerful public personalities and sparked debate about the line between the right to privacy and the exposure of hypocrisy.
Throughout his career, Signorile has covered gay issues, culture and politics for media outlets such as the The New York Times, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times. He has served as editor at large for The Advocate and Out Magazine and has provided commentary on “Larry King Live,” “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America” and other television programs. He currently hosts his own three-hour weekday radio program, “The Michelangelo Signorile Show,” on Sirius XM and serves as editor at large for the HuffPost.
Signorile has authored several highly acclaimed, best-selling books including the groundbreaking “Queer in America: Sex, the Media and Closets of Power” (1993), which exposes the double standard for heterosexuals and homosexuals; “Outing Yourself” (1995), a step-by-step guide on the subject; and “Life Outside” (1997), which explores the history of gay culture from the 1950s through the 1980s.
Signorile was featured in the book “The Gay 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Gay Men and Lesbians, Past and Present,” published in 2002. In 2011 The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association inducted him into the LGBT Journalists Hall of Fame. In 2012 Out Magazine honored him on its annual Out100 list.
In 2013 Signorile married David Gerstner, a film historian.