January 26, 2010 | by Chris Johnson
Gay businessman lands front row seat for State of the Union

Trevor Yager, a gay Indiana businessman, has been invited to attend the State of the Union address.

Eager to see the beginning of President Obama’s agenda in 2010, a gay Indiana business owner has claimed a seat for the joint session of Congress on Wednesday to witness the State of the Union address.

Trevor Yager, 35 and owner of TrendyMinds, an Indianapolis-based advertising agency, will be among the attendees for the speech in which Obama is expected to lay out his priorities for Congress for the year.

In a DC Agenda interview, Yager said he wanted to attend because “it’s one of those things that isn’t going to happen everyday.”

“Especially in this time in our nation’s history, I think there’s a lot going on [and] it’ll be great to have a front seat,” he said.

A member of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Yager said he was selected to attend the president’s speech through his role in the organization.

“The White House reached out to them, and then they selected a few of their members and we were one that submitted information about our company, and the White House chose us,” Yager said.

Yager said he thinks the White House chose him because his company has experienced significant growth in the past year-and-a-half despite the country’s troubled economy.

After NGLCC took care of the initial arrangements, Yager said White House LGBT liaison Brian Bond contacted him to extend a formal invitation from Obama.

NGLCC President Justin Nelson said his organization was “excited” to help arrange an invite for one of its members to see the State of the Union address.

“We were excited to do that — to find a business that really represents the things that are going right in the economy recovery, and TrendyMinds is a prime example of that,” Nelson said.

Yager said his partner of seven years, Tyler Murray, won’t be attending the president’s address with him because he opted to stay in Indiana with family and friends on Wednesday evening.

Asked whether he supported Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign, Yager said he didn’t contribute a donation to the president’s campaign, but voted for him in the general election.

While Yager said his work in LGBT activism has been limited, he said he was on the steering committee in 2007 for a Lambda Legal fundraiser in Indiana. He said the Indiana fundraiser for Lambda is the organization’s third largest in country and takes in between $175,000 and $200,000 each year.

Yager said he’s not sure whether the president will mention LGBT issues during his speech, but said he thinks Obama may address them in some general discussion on civil rights.

“So I can see him weaving that in at some point,” Yager said. “As far as a major focus, I don’t know if that’ll be the case. I think it’s probably going to more health care and on the economy.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) told reporters on Monday that Obama may address “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” during his State of the Union speech.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

3 Comments
  • And this improves my life — anyone’s life — how? Please spare the feel-good BS about how important this symbol is to the cause of gay rights. Frankly, I think the majority of the country has moved beyond this piddling piece of tokenism.

    Me? I am more interested in repeal of DADT, benefits for federal government workers, affordable health care for everyone, regulation of the financial services industry and a bunch of other stuff.

    Please, I beg you: Do NOT feed this pathetic tokenism.

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