Remembering Chris Bradley: A proud leader in the LGBTQ community


At the center of Chris' life and heart was his family: his husband Jason, and his beautiful children Spencer and Maria.

For Chris that meant sharing his love for them with you at home.

And for the local LGBT community, that made him a role model.

Chris announced the end of his fight with cancer with a Facebook post and a photo from what he called the happiest day of his life:

The day he married his husband Jason, their two children at their side.

Pastor Don Wallick knew the Bradley-Krausses when they were just a party of two.

He was an associate pastor at their church, King Avenue United Methodist.

"It was a time when the church itself was beginning to be more active in publicly welcoming LGBT folks. Right about the same time that Chris and Jason were trying to figure out how are we going to live our lives, Chris especially being a public figure. And I think Chris and Jason and the church sort of fed off each another in terms of what can we be? How can we be open and accepting and show that?"

At that time especially, he says the decision to publicly come out was not without risk.

"The essence of Chris and Jason both, is that they want to live authentically and genuinely. And Chris being a public figure on TV, if you're going to be genuine and authentic, then that means being genuine and authentic everywhere. And so they kind of took a deep breath and started doing that."

"He has always been an active member and leader of the LGBTQ community. And he led by example, which is not something that everybody can do,” said Karla Rothan, former Executive Director of Stonewall Columbus.

"He saw that young people needed a role model. And he filled that very, very nicely for us. Sometimes we don't have a lot of confidence when you're in our community because you don't have a lot of support. So what happens is you don't think you're going to have this great life and this wonderful family. But Chris taught us that you can have a beautiful family that loves you, a supportive spouse that stands by you, no matter what. You can have two beautiful children and you can have a great career."

Amy Eldridge is the former Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Youth Center for LGBTQ youth.

"There's such a generosity of spirit in Chris, and how he has shared his struggles and his family and his success,” she said.

Chris supported Kaleidoscope by emceeing its annual Garden Party fundraiser.

"We had our supporters and our youth at the event, and Chris talked about his own struggles as a young person coming to terms with his gay identity. And he also, while he shared his struggles, he also shared his success. Here was someone highly successful in his career, really beloved by the wider Columbus community."

"And that seeing that example, sometimes it saves lives,” Eldridge said. “It can turn people around, make them less lonely, make them realize that they too are valuable and can be loved for who they are. What better legacy could any of us leave, than the kind of leadership and kindness and openness that he has given?"

"We saw ourselves in him, and he saw himself in us. And it made our life better,” said Rothan.

And after giving so much, in his final words to the community he loved, Chris asked one thing in return:

"Please always remember that which we share in common is stronger than our differences."

"I would say to the children, thank you for sharing your daddy, because I know it's probably not very easy to do. But you did it gracefully,” said Rothan through tears. “And to (Chris), I would say, carry on. And thank you. We're very grateful.”

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