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About Duke

James Duke Mason (born April 27, 1992) is an American writer, activist and city official in West Hollywood, California. The only child of singer Belinda Carlisle and film producer Morgan Mason, he is also the only grandchild of the late British actor James Mason and his wife, media personality Pamela Mason.

 

Born in Los Angeles, Mason moved to Europe with his parents as a child. Mason is openly gay and came out to his family and friends at the age of 14 in 2006. After graduating from Mougins School, an international school in the south of France in July 2010, Mason moved back to the U.S. to study political science at California Lutheran University. After a year he moved to West Hollywood, California to pursue his passion for grassroots advocacy.

 

Mason was appointed to serve as a Page in the United States House of Representatives during the summer of 2008. He had a small acting role in the film "What Happens Next", which screened as part of the Hollywood Film Festival. In 2010, The Advocate listed Mason as one of the most influential young LGBT Americans in their "Forty Under 40" issue. He was named in OUT magazine's 2011 "Out 100" issue as one of the 100 most influential LGBT people in the world. He has appeared on TV shows such as Dr. Phil, Nancy Grace, and Politicking with Larry King to discuss LGBTQ issues. He served as an official surrogate for the campaigns of Barack Obama in the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election and Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. He served on the Board of Directors of Outfest from January 2012 to January 2015, making him the youngest Board Member in the organization's history. He was a candidate for the West Hollywood City Council in the March 3, 2015 election, and was subsequently appointed by Mayor Lindsey Horvath to her newly created 21st Century Leaders Task Force. In May 2015 he was selected to serve as Special Guest Grand Marshal of the Sacramento Pride Parade. He served on the Board of the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation from 2015 to 2017.

 

Since October 2015 he has served on the West Hollywood Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board, appointed by WeHo Councilmember John Heilman, where he served as Co-Chair from 2017 to 2018. He once again ran for West Hollywood City Council in the March 5, 2019 election; although he didn't win, he earned 1,331 votes and placed a strong 5th (top 3 won) in a crowded field of 11 candidates. He was endorsed by longtime Councilmember John Heilman and earned the support of prominent LGBTQ organization Equality California.

 

Since the campaign he has primarily focused on his writing and activism. He has continued to be a leader in support of the boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel and other Dorchester Collection properties due to their owner, the Sultan of Brunei's policies against the LGBTQ community. He was a prominent voice in the media calling out the past anti-gay votes and hypocrisy of former Republican Congressman Aaron Schock. For more than a decade he has been a freelance writer for various major publications, including The Huffington Post, The Advocate, OUT Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, Queerty, and is currently a regular contributor to LGBTQ Nation. Since March 2020 he has hosted a weekly series on his Instagram account called "Duke's Download", where he has interviewed celebrities and politicians. 

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West Hollywood, California