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Ethan Geto
(1943 - living) U.S.A.

Ethan Geto

Gay activist and political organizer


Geto was born and raised in the Bronx and graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School. Attending Columbia College was "no easy segueway" at first for the former public school kid, who majored in political science and went on to do graduate work at Columbia School of Public Affairs.

In college he got involved in the Reform Democratic movement. Politics came naturally to Geto, whose father was an early TV writer who was blacklisted for belonging to the Communist party, which many in the arts belonged to at that time.

Ethan Geto has been running political campaigns since he was a teenager and has been involved in presidential campaigns before. By 1971 he had come out personally and had gotten involved in the Gay Activists Alliance, but still wasn't out publicly. Around the same time, Geto was also George McGovern's New York Democratic presidential primary campaign manager.

The next stop for Geto, which saw him rise to national prominence in statements in the New York Times and other media, was as an opponent of Anita Bryant's effort to repeal a gay civil rights ordinance in Florida's Dade County. Gay rights groups wanted an openly gay campaign manager for their fight and Geto was one of only two at that time in the U.S. The other was Jim Foster. Both were hired.

In 1972, Geto had separated from his first wife who he married in 1966. Surprisingly, he remarried in 1974, to Michele de Milly, the partner in his P.R. firm. He split up with Michele de Milly in 1980, although they became business partners that year and remain so to this day in Geto & de Milly, Inc. He has two children, and five grandchildren.

It was in 1973, when he was working on Abrams' borough president reelection campaign that he confided his sexual orientation to Abrams. Geto was concerned about the impact it would have on Abrams, as they headed into the 1974 attorney general race. Abrams was "the straightest straight guy" Geto knew, but he was single. But when Geto told him he was homosexual, Abrams had no problems with it.

Geto has been a paid lobbyist on any number of gay causes, ranging from the passage of New York City's 1986 gay rights bill to the 2002 Sexual Orientation and Nondiscrimination Act (SONDA).

Geto's 2003 stint as New York State campaign director for Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean was special for him, mainly because Dean has emerged as the consensus candidate for many gays and lesbians.

Geto is a partner in Geto & de Milly, the high-powered New York City public-relations firm. As for the top publicist, who has lived in Chelsea on 14th St. since 1972. Since 1985 he has been in a relationship with a man, Xax Xax (yes, that’s his legal name; Xax is pronounced “Zacks”).


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