As we near the end of 2013, we're reflective of all that we've accomplished as a community this year. 2013 was a huge year for LGBT equality and justice and we're proud of the Pride Agenda's role in helping to share a more equitable New York and United States. We have our work cut out for us in 2014 and beyond because we still face inequalities at every turn, but we're hopeful the momentum created this year will carry us forward towards even more progress next year.
Check out our top ten list of LGBT wins for New York in 2013 and feel free to add any we may have missed in the below comments:
10. Baseline funding for LGBT homeless youth -As Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Quinn get ready to hand the keys of the city over to our new administration, they made a move that will be appreciated for years to come. They, along with Council Member Fidler secured baseline funding for our city's most vulnerable, runaway and homeless youth, ensuring that resources for our most at-risk youth are now an integral part of the city's budget priorities in 2014 and beyond. Also this year, funding dedicated to providing care for runaway and homeless youth on the state level received an increase with the Legislature adding $254,000 to the $2.35 million outlined in the budget agreement.
9. Pope Francis brings a more progressive view - While not specific to New York, the words of the new Pope Francis that the Catholic Church is too focused on social issues, including same-sex marriage, resonated throughout the world. So much so that he was named Time Magazine's Person of the Year.
8. Increased public awareness about LGBT attacks - There's nothing to celebrate when it comes to the many violent attacks we've seen on members of our community this year, including the murder of young trans women Islan Nettles in Harlem and Marc Carson in the West Village. What we witnessed in 2013, though, was an outpouring of support that we've not seen before, including more media coverage, more attacks reported to the police department and a City Council Hearing to help address the issue.
7. Health disparities revealed and inclusive data collection -This summer we released the first health disparities report that synthesizes intersectional data across sexual orientation, race, age and income level, revealing some startling information about the health inequities the LGBT community faces. The report also called out the lack of data collected on transgender New Yorkers, and we're pleased to see several agencies commit to start collecting information on gender identity and expression in the coming year.
6. Ramping up family protections work - Many people don't know that New York State has the worst law on the books when it comes to creating our families via a gestational carrier, or surrogate. The second parent adoption process is also cumbersome, riddled with invasive and expensive legal hurdles. In 2013, a new bill called the Child-Parent Security Act was introduced, that would make it easier to create and protect our families here at home. Stay tuned for much more on this in 2014!
5. $1 million Department of Labor grant for LGBT at-risk youth -The New York State Department of Labor granted $1 million to provide resources to help LGBT homeless youth with prior involvement in the criminal justice system. The grant, made available through the Pride Agenda's facilitation, will benefit our partners at The Ali Forney Center, Hetrick-Martin Institute and the NYC LGBT Center. These organizations, which work directly with LGBT homeless youth, will be able to use the funds to help many kids get the education, job training and job placement assistance that they so desperately need.
4. Pro-LGBT election season - Election season was especially exciting this year, with the most-ever pro-LGBT Pride Agenda endorsed candidates winning seats across New York State. Come January, we'll have the most LGBT New York City Council Members - six - including representation from the outer boroughs.
3. U.S. Senate passes ENDA - We made huge strides nationally this year with the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the U.S. Senate. While we still have miles to go before ENDA becomes law, this was the first time the Senate considered a bill that included transgender Americans, which sends a strong message to places like New York, which still have yet to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA).
2. Unprecedented support for transgender protections - 2013 was a big year for New York when it came to awareness and education around transgender identities and experiences. We launched an unprecedented media campaign this spring which resulted in editorials in support of GENDA throughout the state, including The New York Times, Buffalo News, Albany Times Union, Syracuse Post Standard and Glens Falls Post Star. We also garnered support from leaders across labor, politics, women's rights organizations, and law enforcement, including New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. In addition, we launched our first-ever social-media based Transgender Awareness Month campaign this November to highlight the rich diversity of transgender New Yorkers, and published the first-ever comprehensive statewide Trans Resource Guide. In addition, Delaware and Puerto Rico joined the list of jurisdictions that passed transgender protections in 2013.
1. Marriage equality at the national level - This past June brought the sweet news of Federal marriage recognition in the landmark Supreme Court case, U.S. v. Windsor that ruled Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. The Pride Agenda is proud to have helped, submitting an Amicus brief that outlined the inequalities same-sex couples faced and to have trained Edie Windsor as a Pride Agenda Marriage Ambassador back in 2007 when we were fighting for marriage equality here in New York State.