Rogers was raised in suburban New York City in Rockland County, NY and attended public schools. Rogers was graduated from Ramapo Senior High School in Spring Valley, NY. He attended Adelphi University (1982) and the University of Buffalo (also known as the State, University Center at New York University Center at Buffalo) (1983-1986), where he majored in political science.
Prior to his notoriety as a blogger and citizen journalist Rogers was a fundraiser in Buffalo, New York City and Washington, DC. His career as a fundraiser began at the Western New York Public Broadcasting Association, operators of National Public Radio Affiliates WNED-FM, and WNED, and Public Broadcasting System affiliate WNED-TV, where he was involved in raising funds for the construction of a new broadcasting facility. In 1989 Rogers relocated to New York and became Development Coordinator/Program Manager of the Hetrick Martin Institute and Harvey Milk High School, a high-school for LGBT students. Rogers was the organization's first full-time development officer and during his tenure he created the organization's major giving program, created a direct mail program and expanded the annual event program five-fold. Rogers managed the New York City film premiere of Longtime Companion as a fundraiser for the organization. The film is the first motion picture made by a major movie studio (Samuel Goldwyn Company) with AIDS and HIV as the central topic.
Rogers has also served as the Director of Donor Development of the Funding Exchange, a consortium of community foundations and a national grantmaking program. In Washington, DC, Rogers was the Director of Development for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the nation's oldest national LGBT organization still in operation. He has served in senior fundraising positions including Director of Donor Development at the Funding Exchange, Director of Development of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and Senior Manager of Major Gifts at the environmental organization Greenpeace.
Rogers has been an activist and spokesperson in the LGBT community. In the mid 1980s he was President of the LGBT Student Association (then GLOBE: Gays, Lesbians or Bisexuals for Equality) of the University of Buffalo. In 1985 he became the first board member representing youth clients on the Board of Directors of Gay and Lesbian Youth of Buffalo (Now Gay and Lesbian Youth Services of Western New York). From 1986 to 1989, Rogers served on the Board of the Buffalo and Niagara chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
After moving to New York City In 1989, Rogers joined the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP!). He, along with fellow Hetrick-Martin employee Ann Northrop, was arrested for participating in ACT-UP!'s Stop The Church protest at St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1989. Both Rogers and Northrop faced the possibility of losing their jobs because of their participation. Both remained at the agency.
In 1993, Rogers founded a national network of fundraisers at LGBT organizations.
In 2002, Rogers founded Stop The Box, his first internet activism effort. The "Box," refers to a 20 ft. wide, 10 ft. height and 8 ft depth unattended structure that houses an automatic convenience store. The box, a prototype, was owned by Tik Tok Easy Shop. Rogers created a 5-page website and organized residents living near the box. He coordinated protests and education campaigns about the"box." Rogers also made the discovery that the Tik Tok Easy Shop company was a wholly owned subsidiary of the McDonald's Corporation. Rogers discovered that at the time the internet domain registration for tiktokeasyshop.com was McDonald's.
In 2003, Rogers founded FixTheBricks.blogspot.com, a website created to encourage local business to take responsibility for the public spaces around their establishments. In the Adams-Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC, Rogers was successful in obtaining improvements to sidewalks and tree boxes.
Since February 2013, he has been a member of the WikiQueer Global Advisory Board.
In 2002, Rogers challenged McDonald's on their installation of an 18 ft (5.5 m) wide vending machine under the moniker, TikTokEasyShop.
Rogers, a resident of the neighborhood in which the machine was installed, organized protests against what had become known as "The Box." Rogers discovered and reported that the machine was owned by the McDonald's Corporation, although McDonald's branding appeared nowhere in the marketing or community outreach. Rogers had a letter published in The New York Times relating to the machine.
The machine was removed within months of its installation.
Rogers forced the Subway food chain, the world's largest food service corporation, to add both sexual orientation and gender identity to the company's non-discrimination policies.
In 2008, citizens of California approved Proposition 8, a voter initiative to repeal the state's marriage equality law. Under the law before the passage of Proposition 8, same sex couples were allowed to marry in the state. Because the initiative passed, marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples in the state was repealed. Following the election, Rogers learned that a Subway Franchisee in Merced, California had donated $2,500 to the Yes on 8 campaign. Under threat of a boycott, Rogers made the following demands of Subway:Repudiate the gift
Add sexual orientation and gender identity to the corporation's non-discrimination policy.
Give an equal gift to the opposing side.
Subway agreed to the first two and Rogers dropped his demand for the equal gift when the original gift was rescinded. Subway's headquarters wrote to all locations (as of January 21, 2013: 38,623)) explaining how the gift was in violation of franchisee policies. The company also explained that the company's non-discrimination policies will now include sexual orientation and gender identity.
On July 7, 2004 Rogers launched BlogActive.com, a personal blog. The blog has been a focal point for outing closeted gay politicians who actively oppose gay rights. Rogers's work was the subject of numerous articles. His work has been profile twice by the Washington Post, including a 2007 profile which asked if Rogers was The Most Feared Man On the Hill.
On August 19, 2004, Rogers first major report was on US Rep. Edward L. Schrock (R-VA). Rogers published a set of recordings of Schrock using the MegaMates/Mega Phone Line, a service for men to meet other men for the purposes of meeting for sexual encounters. On August 30, 2004, during the Republican National Convention, Schrock ended his reelection campaign.
One year prior to the publishing of emails from US Rep. Mark Foley to a 16-year-old seeking sexual encounters, Rogers reported on Foley on March 4, 2005.
On October 17, 2006, Rogers reported on sexual liaisons between US Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) and unnamed individuals in Washington, DC's Union Station. Rogers uncovered a news story from 1982 that tied Craig to a sex and drug scandal in the US Congress. Rogers reported on more recent activity in various places throughout the nation. Rogers's report prompted Craig to issue a denial. 9 months later, on June 11, 2007, Craig was arrested in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for lewd conduct.
Rogers is the lead subject of the Magnolia Pictures/HBO film Outrage, a documentary by director Kirby Dick. The film focuses on closeted politicians and senior political staff who work against the LGBT community. Rogers's activities are followed and a number of his cases, including US Rep. Ed Schrock and US Senator Larry Craig are central themes to the film. Rogers also served as a consultant to the filmmakers.
In 2005, Rogers founded Proud of Who We Are, a non partisan organization to encourage elected officials to be honest and open with their sexual orientation and gender identity.
In 2008, Rogers founded the National Blogger and Citizen's Journalist Initiative, an organization that brings together leaders of the online and offline LGBT community. The organization changed its name in 2012 to Netroots Connect. The organization's goals include leadership development and skill building for online activists. Originally conceived as a meeting of online journalists and bloggers, the organization has grown to serve over 500 participants. Annual gatherings have taken place each year since 2008 and are programmed to coincide with Netroots Nation, a national conference of online progressive activists.
The organization has served as an incubator for programs and organizations. Scouts for Equality was founded at the organization's 2012 gathering. In 2013 the program fostered the international social media campaign, #TestMe. The campaign engaged social media users as an education tool for HIV Testing Day. Over 2.5 million social media impressions were made in a 48-hour period.
Rogers has become a regular guest on cable television news channels and his appearances include programs on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, and Current TV.
In 2004 Rogers appeared on the O'Reilly Factor with Bill O'Reilly. During his appearance Rogers challenged the talk show host because O'Reilly outed a member of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, while attacking Rogers's work. The exchange was reported in the Chicago Tribune.
Rogers has been profiled by GQ Magazine, named one of Out Magazine's Out 100 and was selected as one of Genre Magazine's Men We Love. He has been profiled twice by the Washington Post, both times by writer Jose Antonio Vargas.
In May 2009, Rogers appeared on The View, while promoting "Outrage."
Rogers is a guest-host of the Michelangelo Signorile Show on Sirius XM Radio, and The Ed Schultz Show on SiriusXM and national terrestrial radio.
Rogers cites Sirius-XM Radio host Michelangelo Signorile as an influence in his work. Signorile started the modern outing movement. When asked to identify a personal LGBT hero, Rogers replied that fellow Hetrick-Martin Institute colleague and LGBT/AIDS activist Ann Northrop is "[T]he first fearless woman I met...She takes risks knowing the consequences and takes them anyway." Rogers frequently mentions his experience working with adolescents at the Hetrick-Martin Institute and Harvey Milk High School as a motivating force behind his activism.