SAN DIEGO -- While William Pontius is a newcomer to San Diego, many in America's Finest City (and around the world) might recognize his face from starring in Macklemore's groundbreaking music video about same-gender marriage, "Same Love."
His latest project includes starring in a reality show that is currently airing in seven countries and will soon make its U.S. debut.
Before moving to Southern California, the former Mr. Gay Seattle competed at the national level as Mr. Gay World USA-Washington. While living in Washington state, he also worked as a field organizer for the Washington United for Marriage campaign when he landed the role in Mackelmore's video. Washington was the first state in the US to gain marriage equality by popular vote.
The 32-year-old said he was removed from public school for being gay in the ninth grade and was sent to an all-boys reform school on a secluded island. Pontius says he can recall as early as the first grade being bullied by school administers, the very people who should have been protecting him. He feels a strong connection to LGBT youth and the activist-turned-actor began his career early on raising money for a small non-profit called Lambert House that provides services to LGBT youth in Seattle.
Pontius says that when he was growing up, he does not recall there being any gay role models on TV or in the media, which was his motivation for becoming an actor.
Now living in San Diego, he is a spokes-model for LA-based clothing line Homokind, and works as an admissions counselor at a local university.
And for those wondering, he is single.
Read more about him in the profile below.
What organization(s) do you volunteer for, and why?
Back in Seattle I used to volunteer for Lambert House, HRC, and Life Long. I am not currently volunteering for any right now here in San Diego yet, but I have met with HRC’s youth program and The Sierra Club.
What motivates you to do the volunteer work you do?
I am motivated to do volunteer work for the true joy I feel helping others and positively creating social change.
Do you volunteer because of your work, or not? And what do you do for a career?
I do not volunteer because of my work; however I change people’s lives every day. I am an admissions counselor at a university here in San Diego. I help students enroll and encourage, motivate, and help them through the process of going back to school.
What is something that many people do not know about you?
I did not go to high school. I was bullied by my school’s administration and they sent me to a all boy’s reform school to “straighten me out.” I ended up running away from home and getting my GED. Since then I have always had a special place in my heart for education and our gay youth, because I have been there and I know what they can go through.
What would you like to see change in the LGBT community?
I would love to see us communicate, embrace, and come together more as a community. I feel as though we segregate each other based on micro communities such as ethnicity, body type and social class. Maybe it is because growing up we were judged so harshly and critically that makes us become the most judgmental of all.
What do you like most about the local LGBT community?
I love that we make people feel like they can be themselves and they are in a safe environment.
What sorts of things do you do to enrich your social life other than volunteering?
Well right now I love working at the university. I work with so many diverse and like-minded people.
If you could host a dinner party and invite three people (dead or alive), who would they be and why?
Oprah Winfrey, Andre Charles and Ellen DeGeneres.
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