‘LGBTQ in 2021’ Initiative Launches

Ritchie Torres (Photo from @RitchieTorres via Gotham Gazette)

In the 2021 municipal elections in New York City, 35 of the total 51 seats on the New York City Council will be open because term limits will prevent the incumbents from running for re-election. On May 23, a coalition of LGBTQ rights advocates, joined by some current and former council members, announced an effort to ensure the election of queer candidates, reports Ethan Geringer-Sameth in Gotham Gazette.

Five of the current members identify as LGBT, and all will be termed out of office: Speaker Corey Johnson and Council members Danny Dromm, Ritchie Torres, Jimmy Van Bramer, and Carlos Menchaca.

Gotham Gazette writes that the “LGBTQ in 2021” initiative is aiming for a larger and more diverse group of LGBTQ council members.

“We want to make sure that we elect lesbians to the City Council, we want to ensure that we elect transgender women to the City Council, we want to ensure we elect LGBT people of color to the City Council,” Speaker Johnson, who is openly gay and HIV positive, said to cheers from the audience assembled.

A number of other Council members were also present at the press conference, including Dromm and Torres of the LGBT Caucus, as well as former Council Members Tom Duane, who was the first openly gay person elected to the City Council, and Elizabeth Crowley, who has helped spearhead the “21 in ‘21” initiative to elect more women to the City Council, which was the inspiration for the project announced Monday. The City Council currently has 12 women out of its 51 members.

Gotham Gazette reports that the coalition, which includes LGBTQ Democratic political clubs like the Stonewall Democrats and advocacy groups like New York Transgender Advocacy Group and Queer-Amisú…

…plans to recruit and support queer candidates to run for City Council through training, mentorship, and networking resources. At the moment, LGBTQ in 2021 has a social media presence but an informal operational structure as its members determine its direction. It is currently focused on City Council elections, but may expand its mission in the future.

Read more in Gotham Gazette from individual members of the coalition describing what lessons they plan to draw on in developing successful campaigns for LGBTQ candidates.

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