Born and raised in Honolulu and an ethnic Ilocano, Gerry is a descendant of the Sakadas who labored in the pineapple and sugarcane plantations of territorial Hawaii.
The son of union organizers for UNITE HERE Local 5, Gerry’s father retired from the Royal Hawaiian Hotel; his mother retired from the Moana Surfrider Hotel. Both hotels are historic properties on Waikiki Beach.
Gerry has one younger brother, an associate for one of Hawaii’s largest Native Hawaiian trusts.
Having graduated from Moanalua High School, Gerry left the islands to attend Loyola University Chicago. He left Loyola to work as an aide in the historic U.S. Senate race between Barack Obama and Alan Keyes.
While remaining a political consultant, Farinas became a social services professional—eventually becoming assistant director.
In 2012, Gerry was invited by publisher Dane Tidwell (who owned Gay Chicago Magazine) and editor Tony Merevick (who wrote for Chicago Free Press) to help lead the Chicago Phoenix LGBT newspaper. Upon the departure of Merevick to New York City, Gerry became its second editor. The publication was rebranded to become Opus.
In 2015, Opus folded. Gerry created a volunteer committee, aiming to preserve and continue the work of the succession of previous LGBT publications. The flagship publication is lgbtchi.com—a news and literary magazine.
Gerry serves as presider of an ecumenical lay religious order, the Society of Joseph Dutton—a ministry named for the Wisconsin Civil War soldier who became a lay priest in service to the lepers of Molokai.
Hale Mehameha is the Hawaiian name of Gerry’s residence in the Edgewater Beach neighborhood of Chicago.
A rare commodity
“Chicago Phoenix is a must-read publication for news on the LGBT community, and the issues that affect it. It is a welcome resource for in-depth news and background analysis that is a rare commodity in a fast media age.” —Illinois state Rep. Greg Harris
“Gerald Farinas provides innovative, high-quality reporting with a crisp, modern style, making him one of the Midwest’s leading sources of LGBT news and entertainment. Many turn to Chicago Phoenix lifestyle columns for help and ideas.” —Bisexual activist Lady A