Ryan Bos switched gears after a 15-year career working in residential life on campus at University of Maryland Baltimore County last October to take the reins at Capital Pride where he’s executive director.
“It was really a way of getting back to my passion and what I grew up with,” the 38-year-old gay Michigan City, Ind., native says. “My family had always been involved in non-profit work. For years, we coordinated a large ethnic musical festival back in northwest Indiana, so I grew up with this kind of work.”
Bos says his new job has brought with it, as one would imagine, a learning curve, but he says now that Pride season is here, things are coming together.
“The events so far have surpassed my expectations,” he says. “I’m really excited about the weekend.”
Bos says LGBT Washingtonians have an exciting weekend in store.
“I think so many people see it as just the parade and the festival and it’s so much more than that,” he says. “It really is an opportunity to ‘be true, be you.’ … It’s a time to really celebrate, let your hair down and be yourself.”
Bos is single and says he’s content to be so. Before coming to this area — he first landed in Catonsville, Md., but has been living in D.C. the past three years — he was in Muncie, Ind., earning his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Ball State University.
Bos lives in the Mount Vernon Square area and enjoys swimming, softball, volunteering, running and watching TV in his free time.
For more on Capital Pride, see pages 60-68 or visit capitalpride.org.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I’ve been out to myself since 20, been out to the family since 22. It was hardest telling my parents.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
I’d have to give props to Ellen.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
I miss Nation, but also really enjoyed Tracks, which was around for one more year when I moved to the area. The closing party was one of my favorite nights. Nothing like closing the place down with a breakfast buffet at the end of the night (morning) and sitting down on the dance floor eating scrambled eggs, bacon and pancakes.
Describe your dream wedding.
Not sure I’ll ever get married, but if I were it would be simple with family and close friends. Honeymoon would involve an element of nature and adventure.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
What historical outcome would you change?
The assassination of Martin Luther King. I’m curious if he’d still be alive if the LGBT movement would have made progress much quicker.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
I’d have to say Michael Jackson and MTV. I can still remember the night the “Thriller” video debuted.
On what do you insist?
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
I think I may have either severely sprained or broke my ankle.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“A Life of Contradiction”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
That our energy is interconnected and we evolve into something else. I do believe there is something greater than us.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Don’t waste time on debating what issue to fight for next. Just fight and stand up for what you believe. There’s plenty of resources and agencies that we can support and fight from all sides.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
Dark chocolate, but also to help my family and close friends.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
None really annoy me because our community is so diverse. What annoys me is when people don’t acknowledge the diversity within our community.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Broken Hearts Club”
What’s the most overrated social custom?
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
My finishing medal from the first marathon I did.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That it’s OK to “Be True. Be You!” I actually wish I would have known that and had the confidence to be that much younger, especially through high school.
There’s so much energy in this region. I love the diversity within the District but also the ease of travel to areas close by like Baltimore, Philly, NYC, Rehoboth, etc.