Journalist

Eminent Journalist
Roy Aarons’ distinguished career in daily journalism included top editorial positions at the Washington Post and the Oakland Tribune. read more >

Author

Prayers for Bobby
Roy Aarons wrote Prayers for Bobby, the powerful saga of a mother’s evolution from near-total rejection of her gay son to advocating for gay youth.  read more >

Activist

NLGJA
Soon after Roy’s startling coming-out, before a convention of his peers, he founded the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association read more >

Moving from the Washington Post to rebuild the Oakland Tribune, Roy led his team to capture a Pulitzer Prize in 1989.

“The landmark book, Prayers for Bobby, has changed countless minds and saved hundreds of lives since it was first published in 1995. We hope that through this powerful movie, we can continue to positively affect lives and do justice to the memory of Bobby Griffith.”

–David Permut and Daniel Sladek, executive producers, “Prayers for Bobby”

Roy’s Story

Award-winning journalist Leroy (Roy) F. Aarons (1933-2004) left a legacy that reached far beyond his profession. A national correspondent for the Washington Post during the 1970s political scandals, an executive editor at the Oakland Tribune who led a team to a Pulitzer Prize, and a founding board member of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (MIJE), the Bronx-born journalist had a far-reaching influence on his field and beyond.

In 1989 the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) asked Roy to coordinate a first-ever survey of gay and lesbian journalists. At ASNE’s convention in 1990, he presented the results—an indictment of mainstream media’s inadequate, uninformed coverage of gay and lesbian issues, and its poor treatment of gays in newsrooms. Startling even himself, Roy ended his speech by coming out to his peers. His unprecedented, risky and courageous move inspired a generation of journalists to champion fair and accurate coverage of a long-neglected community, and led legions of gay journalists to openness in their newsrooms.

Through the Maynard Institute, Roy had long supported minority journalists. Six months after his groundbreaking announcement to ASNE, he went on to found the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA). In the last decade of a multi-faceted career, Roy Aarons wrote plays, operas and a book, the heart-rending Prayers for Bobby: A Mother’s Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son. The 1995 book, adapted for television, debuts on Lifetime TV on Jan. 24, 2009. Today, his life partner of 24 years, Joshua Boneh, carries Roy’s work forward.