Jack Berger got a later start than most at age 46. Rather late in life, he says, "but I have been trying to make the most of my journey by getting involved and staying active ever since.” Berger is a Syracuse grad and “the extremely proud father of two sons.”
Over the last 11 years, he's happily volunteered his time with the organization Bunnies on the Bayou, helping raise funds through events that then go to other nonprofit LGBT organizations. He even served as president of the group for four years.
As if that wasn’t enough, Berger is a member of the OutReach United board of directors, serves on the board of the Lesbian Health Initiative, serves as social co-chair for the group EPAH (an LGBT professional networking group) and has an advisory role with the organization Lambda NextGen.
Berger was also excited to discover that he was nominated as a finalist for Male Grand Marshal of the Houston Pride Parade this year. “I am in great company with the other two finalists, Bryan Cotton, and Lou Weaver," he says. "I think it would be a blast to represent the community this June.”
Here’s more of what makes H-Town one of Jack Berger’s true loves.
How long have you lived in Houston?
I have lived in Houston for 30 years after having helped out as the emergency marketing director for the U.S. Olympic Festival here in 1986.
What do you do?
After spending the first two-thirds of my career in Sports Marketing and PR, I am an advertising media manager for OutSmart magazine, the leading LGBT media source in the entire state of Texas (and possibly the galaxy!)
What’s your favorite thing about Houston?
What’s not to like? Houston is a big city, but anyone can make a difference. I love our diversity, our culture, our heritage, and even our weather. Playing tennis in January in shorts at Memorial Park beats shoveling snow anytime.
What continues to surprise you about Houston?
The generosity and passion of our community never ceases to surprise me. We rarely have a shortage of volunteers and folks here will always get behind a good cause.
Where is your favorite place to eat in Houston?
My kitchen! But if I do have to go out, I’m a fan of Gloria’s—that black bean dip is addictive! Teotihuacan on Airline is also a favorite. I will be honest, I miss Monday nights at Café Adobe, too!
What is your favorite thing to do in Houston?
Surprisingly for this Brooklyn-born guy, I love the Livestock Show and Rodeo. My sons have been very active in their programs, and I think it’s an amazing non-profit that benefits many people in our community and our state.
How would you describe the queer community in Houston?
From my perspective, I have found the LGBT community to be quite accepting. This community allows each individual to find a place where they can be comfortable and be a contributing member.
What is your favorite queer event in Houston?
Bunnies on the Bayou will always be my favorite LGBT event on the annual calendar. The ability to blend a great time with a great cause is a terrific formula. It’s the best people watching of the year.
What is the one piece of advice you’d give to a queer person coming to visit H Town?
Do a little research; utilize MyGayHouston.com and OutSmart; and do your best to come during one of the big events like Pride Weekend or Bunnies on the Bayou. Enjoy the bars, clubs, and restaurants—there’s something for everyone here.