Out50: Toni Barone

Toni Barone

Toni Barone retired from Sears and went to work. After 23 years of retail, including executive management, she found a new challenge in owning and operating bars and night clubs and raising funds for nonprofit agencies.

Today she’s an agent with Patricia Burnside Realty, specializing in bars, nightclubs and restaurant properties. She’s still raising money for a range of causes.

“I never experienced harassment for being lesbian,” she said.  “I knew I was gay when I was 10. Family and friends were OK with it. It was no big deal. I never felt any problems at Sears.” 

After retiring from Sears, Barone owned five bars over the next 28 years. She also helped hundreds of fundraising programs for all kinds of nonprofit causes, LGBT or not.

“Hundreds and hundreds is more like it,” she said. She’s worked on Hurricane Katrina relief, The Pet Project, Tuesday’s Angels, Poverello events, and more.

“I’ve worked on so many I couldn’t begin to count them all,” she said.

Baroneand her wife, Rain Thut, were married in 2014 in Washington D.C. They’ve been together for 18 years.

Her words of wisdom: “Be yourself, be nonjudgmental, respect others and be sure they respect you.” 

— Donald Cavanaugh


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