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Interview with Dorothy Awards Honoree Frank DeMayo
Photo Credit: Jeanne Criscola (Loving Cousin)
Frank has spent a lifetime improving the visibility and quality of life for the LGBT community with a focus on the greater New Haven area. He is a founding member of the New Haven Pride Center, and co-chaired early events that brought Pride to New Haven – an event previously only held in Hartford. It was his dream to formally recognize those who have made a difference in the LGBT community here in Connecticut, and it was Frank DeMayo who 12 years ago gave the Dorothy Awards its form and name.
Former Center co-president Thomas Donato interviewed Frank for this week’s nominee introduction:
  1. You have been involved with the New Haven Pride Center in multiple capacities since its inception: founder, board member, group leader, volunteer, and now Dorothy Award honoree. What do you attribute to the longevity of your relationship with the Center?

    I believe that the Center is a vital link to the community.  A safe place.  I will always support that.
  1. The state of equality for the LGBT community has changed dramatically since the Center opened; what are the biggest issues still facing the LGBT community today?

    I would love to see equality for the Trans community and a national referendum allowing same sex marriage to become law.

  1. Who or what inspires you?

    Love inspires me.  The sun inspires me.  I take my strength from loving every day that I open my eyes and thank God for allowing me that  day.

  1. You can only pick one Broadway cast album to listen to for the rest of your life. What is it?

    The original cast album of GYPSY.  The first adult LP I ever bought.  Ethel Merman was my first vocal teacher.  She taught me how to belt!

  1. Who will play Frank DeMayo in the movie of your life?

    Let’s hope that movie NEVER gets made!

  1. What have you learned about yourself by returning to school to pursue a degree in baking and culinary arts?I went back to school to prove to myself that I could do it.  It was the one regret I had in my life.  I could feel my Mom and Dad over my shoulder the first day when I sat in class.
  1. What is your favorite New Haven Pride Center-related memory?

    When the center was located on Fitch Street, I hosted a couple of years of Thanksgiving day dinners.  Katz’s Deli in Woodbridge provided all the food. We had around 20 people with us who would otherwise not have had a meal that day.  I got that gene from my Mom.  She was a pied piper.

  1. What are you most proud of?

    Did not have to think about this one at all.  I am so proud that I had the strength to beat drugs and alcohol.

  1. Tell us something about yourself that would probably surprise us!

    There is nothing here.  I am pretty much an open book.

  1. Where do you see yourself in five years?

    Just enjoying life and celebrating the fact that the center is firmly in their own building insuring future success.

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James Dauria

January 29, 2015 3:43 pm Reply

Dear Frank,
I have known you for most of my life, at least since I was 17. Joe Frattini was a common thread in both are lives then and in so many ways now. I regretfully can not attend The Dorothy Awards in March when you will receive the recognition and honor you so deserve. I will be there in spirit. I am honored and proud to have known you and to have shared part of my life with you. Congratulations Frank DeMayo/Dorothy you are truly an inspiration. Much love to you my friend.

Bruce DeMayo

January 29, 2015 4:07 pm Reply

Frank and I are 1st cousins. I spent a lot of my youth at his home as I considered his parents, my 2nd parents. I have always been impressed with Frank’s strength, his honest candor and his generosity. I have been in awe of his dedication to improving the quality of life for all in the gay community. I consider him to be one of the biggest influences in my life. He is very deserving of receiving a Dorothy Award.

Remy

January 29, 2015 5:52 pm Reply

My dear Frank,
Remembering when I first met you with your warmth and charisma .
You have always been one of my favorite people! You never change….
Always smiling always gracious, we ( Sal and I ) and the “Richie’s”
will be there to cheer you on.
Xox Remy