Tobias was named treasurer of the Democratic National Committee in 1999 and also serves on the board of directors of the Human Rights Campaign.
(Editor's note: October is LGBT History Month, celebrated annually to recognize the notable achievements of LGBT people throughout time. Each day this month, Equality Forum will feature one LGBT icon who has made notable contributions to society and SDGLN will publish the story here in the Causes section. View previous LGBT History Month icons HERE.)
Andrew Tobias is a well-known author and journalist, who has written several best-selling books. He was named treasurer of the Democratic National Committee in 1999 and also serves on the board of directors of the Human Rights Campaign.
Tobias majored in Slavic languages and literature at Harvard, but demonstrated his business acumen running a million-dollar student business: “Let’s Go: The Student Guide to Europe.” After graduating, he became vice president of the National Student Marketing Corporation and later wrote about the company’s demise in his book, “The Funny Money Game,” which garnered national attention.
At 23 Tobias enrolled in Harvard Business School, while writing for New York magazine. He joined the publication as a contributing editor after graduation, where he covered finance. He went on to write for magazines such as Esquire, TIME and Parade. He also created popular money-management software that was later sold to Quicken.
In 1973 Tobias wrote a coming-of-age memoir, “The Best Little Boy in the World,” under the pen name John Reid. He later admitted he felt uncomfortable using his real name in the book, which discusses his sexuality. He eventually took public credit when the book was republished in 1998. He followed it with “The Best Little Boy in the World Grows Up,” which discusses his life as an out gay man.
“I wanted to tell young gay and lesbian kids and their parents that you can have a good, happy, productive life if you’re gay,” Tobias said in an interview. “You can be out and be respected.”
During the AIDS crisis in the 1970s, many of Tobias’s friends fell victim to the disease. Much of his advocacy since has focused on LGBT rights and health education. “I am the first to admit that I have been blessed in life,” he said, “and this is one of the reasons I feel a very strong obligation to try and make a positive difference.”
Tobias has published a dozen books, including three New York Times best sellers: “Fire and Ice,” a biography of Revlon founder Charles Revson; “The Invisible Bankers,” about the insurance industry; and “The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need,” which sold more than a million copies.
An anti-smoking advocate, Tobias and has written extensively about the tobacco industry. He has also helped to reform the auto insurance industry and has appeared on numerous news shows to discuss these issues.
Tobias has received the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, Harvard Magazine’s Smith-Weld Prize, the Consumer Federation of America Media Service Award, and GLSEN’s first Valedictorian Award.
Tobias had a 16-year relationship with Charles Nolan, a fashion designer who died in 2011.