Sunday, October 22, 2017

Happy Birthday to Actor, Activist Jesse Tyler Ferguson

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Jesse Tyler Ferguson was born today, October 22, in 1975. He is an actor best known for his role on Modern Family. He also worked hard as an LGBTQ activist.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson was born in Missoula, Montana. His family moved when he was young to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he was raised. At age eight he decided to become an actor, and joined the Albuquerque Children's Theater, where he was a member for six years.

After high school Ferguson attended The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York, New York.

In New York, Ferguson worked mainly in theater, including the Tony Award-winning The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, where he originated the role of Leaf Coneybear.

Since 2009, he has played the role of Mitchell Pritchett, the gay lawyer on Modern Family. The role has earned him five Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

In March 2012, Ferguson was featured in a performance of Dustin Lance Black's play 8, a staged reenactment of Perry v. Brown, the Federal trial that overturned California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage. The production  raised money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, a non-profit organization funding the plaintiffs' legal team and sponsoring the play.

In September 2012, Ferguson and his lawyer husband, Justin Mikita, started the non-profit charity 'Tie The Knot,' an effort to raise funds in support of same-sex marriage, using bow ties sold retail. They officially launched it as their engagement announcement in an online video where they explain only seven states at the time had marriage equality.

The foundation sells limited-edition bow ties with "proceeds going to organizations nationwide that are working toward marriage equality." Their collections are designed by the couple plus guest designers, and is sold by The Tie Bar.

In January 2013, the couple were recruited by Lieutenant Governor of Illinois Sheila Simon to lobby legislators to pass SB10 which would allow same-sex marriage. The bill passed both legislative houses, and Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill into law, going into effect on June 1, 2014.

In October 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union named Ferguson the celebrity ambassador for the LGBT community. He participated heavily in the ACLU's "Out for Freedom" campaign.

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