Opinion: Profile in Courage – John Duran

west hollywood city council, ian owens, deputygate
John Duran in 2017 (Photo by Jon Viscott, courtesy of the City of West Hollywood)

John Duran has rightfully endured substantial criticism (some from yours truly) for his misdeeds in City Hall and elsewhere. That history is but one part of what makes up the fabric of a man who has been loud and proud about who is he and what he stands for in our community. He has led communities to a place of courage repeatedly in the face of the disease, social intolerance, and political roadblocks that have plagued communities about which he clearly cares.

I will never doubt that ego plays a large part in Mr. Duran’s activities, as it does and has in the motivation of many who play and have played in the public arena, whether in politics or activism or both.

While I disagree with and indeed condemn some of the unseemliness of Mr. Duran’s behavior, and his suggestion that West Hollywood is a “sex-based city,” I do applaud his audacity to proclaim himself to be and live the way that he chooses to identify, be and live.  He was one of the first public servants to disclose his own HIV status, and not late in his career, but from the start.  I use the word audacity, but what it really represents is courage.

While remembering the misdeeds and times where disagreement existed, we should also recognize Mr. Duran’s loud presence on the fight against HIV/AIDS, on fundamental equality, and on the specific issue of marriage equality. His commitment to the recovery communities alone is more than most people contribute to society in a lifetime. It is often John Duran who leads a crowd to action (and often tears) with his large presence on a platform and his booming eloquence on any number of issues. I have seen it for more than 20 years, sometimes up close as when we served together on ANGLE (Access Now Gay and Lesbian Equality) and then again during a time when our terms on the board of AIDS Project Los Angeles coincided.

I live in a world in which multiple truths can co-exist in the same space. I will always be critical of some actions and decisions made by any public servant (it is our duty as citizens), but such matters should never erase the totality of a person. Cancel culture is real, and it is insidious.

When seen as the complexity that is any human being, the good that John Duran has brought to many communities far outweighs the scars, even those he inflicted on himself.

Thanks, John, for decades of leadership and service. I know (and hope) that you are not finished.

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Bobby
Bobby
2 months ago

Is this a joke? It’s time to get this dirty old man out of public office.

Jason K
Jason K
2 months ago

What a load of Garbage! Duran has been accused of sexual misconduct and displays behaviour unbecoming of a political official gay or straight. I suppose next you are going to be telling us we should be giving Harvey Weinstein a medal for advancing women’s role in cinema.

DontTread
DontTread
2 months ago

Duran’s departure marks the end of an era, when having the spine to hold an unpopular opinion was still a prerequisite for any worthwhile leader. Maybe it’s best to just give in now, let the soothing mind-numbing PC newspeak wash over me, relieving me from any challenging or controversial thoughts..

Last edited 2 months ago by DontTread
Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
2 months ago

Based on this public opinion and argument. JOHN DURAN IS AS DESERVING THE SAME RESPECT, PRAISE, HONOR & RECOGNITION AS …. DONALD TRUMP. TRUMP TOO, A STRAIGHT SEXUAL MAN WHO STANDS TALL AND PROUD OF HIS ENORMOUS NUMBER OF NOT JUST SOCIALLY INAPPROPRIATE, BUT LEGALLY CRIMINAL ACTS OF SEXUAL VIOLATIONS OF ASSAULT TO RAPE AND ALL THE CRIMES IN BETWEEN. BY DAME, IN LIGHT OF HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS, HE SPEAKS HIS TRUTH AND LIKES TO “GRAB WOMEN BY THE P*+”Y” BY THIS ARTICLES ARGUMENT: DESERVES RESPECT AN “A MODEL OF COURAGE” WE ALL COULD ADMIRE. Duran was a mentally unsound sexual… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Jonathan Simmons
Michael Grace
Michael Grace
2 months ago

On one of the election online candidate programs, John Duran said West Hollywood voters will vote for him because they like my brand. Boy, was he wrong! He came in fifth.
Duran was voted out of office! The negatives outweigh the positives. Along with Heilman, Duran is now redundant

He also proved a WEHO Chamber endorsement is the kiss of death.

Perhaps they can name the Blue Whale parking lot for Grindr HQ is after him.

The John Duran Memorial Grindr Hook-up Parking Area!

Vigilant
Vigilant
2 months ago
Reply to  Michael Grace

John Duran’s “Brand” has been officially cancelled. Perhaps he will now have time to consider his inventory.

hifi5000
hifi5000
2 months ago

John Duran started out with good intentions when he became an activist concerned with gay life in West Hollywood.He became an councilman with the continued good intentions,but as time went on,he became someone and something else just out for himself.

It is too bad he couldn’t see the awful changes and recommit himself to be better.

Greg
Greg
2 months ago

If you cost the city a half million dollars for any reason, you’re a disgrace.

Greg
Greg
2 months ago

Are you going to write a thank you Trump piece next. We should judge m our politicians on their overall, not just their good days. Duran took any positive input that he might have had -and took credit, bragged, put down, unfriended, used, trashed, and took the reputation and dignity out of West Hollywood. We lost our deputy system. We lost our Pride. He makes men look like old animals seizing on prey. An op-ed on how he destroyed the image of West Hollywood would be fitting.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
2 months ago

Thoughtful and well written. My views on John were always conflicted as we shared countless hours in the trenches before either of us were on the City Council. John and I worked together to get Bruce Boland, West Hollywood the Sheriff’s deputy that was wrongfully discharged for being gay as well as on a host of other issues regarding discrimination in law enforcement and the fight against AIDS and AIDS bigotry. Unfortunately John’s sense of self importance and entitlement marred much of his time in office but I treasure the bad old days when things looked so bleak and John… Read more »

Mike Dolan
Mike Dolan
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Time to pull out your Thigh-high rubber boots.

Tom
Tom
2 months ago

I won’t soon forget that Duran was the only elected official that I am aware of who bothered to create daily updates during the pandemic with useful information to residents and others on how to get help physically, financially, and spiritually during this crisis. I will choose to remember him for that.

Michael LaBarbera
Michael LaBarbera
2 months ago

Well said Alan. Bravo!

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
2 months ago

such a vile person

Jeffery aubel
Jeffery aubel
2 months ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Pot meet kettle

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