Chris unveils her LGBT policy priorities

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn unveiled her LGBT policy priorities as Mayor of New York today, on the eve of New York’s annual Pride Weekend and in the immediate shadow of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision striking down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. Standing at the LGBT Center on West 13th Street, Quinn announced she would establish a Mayor’s Office on HIV/AIDS and expand homeless services for LGBT teens and young adults, ensuring no youth are forced to sleep on the streets. Quinn also committed to establishing an LGBT senior housing community and incorporating a more robust tolerance education into the New York City Public Schools curriculum.

“I know first-hand the challenges New York’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community faces,” said Quinn. “Make no mistake, we have seen tremendous progress in New York and across the country this week, but we still have a long way to go in providing the support services for a community that is still disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS and whose youth still face extreme pressures when they come out. We also see that despite the progress we made in gaining acceptance, hate crimes are still an ugly and real part of our lives and that must stop.”

Establish a Mayor’s Office of HIV/AIDS Policy

Quinn pledged to make New York City a national leader by creating a Mayor’s Office of HIV/AIDS Policy that works directly in the city’s executive office, reporting to the mayor. The new office will coordinate the fight against HIV/AIDS effectively across all city programs and agencies, focusing on prevention as well as treatment and services for those living with HIV/AIDS. Currently, City AIDS/HIV services are run through the Department of Health. In establishing a Mayor’s Office on HIV/AIDS, the City will be better able to coordinate HIV/AIDS services with agencies working on education, corrections, poverty, policing, mental health, aging, and housing, among others.

Ensure That No Young Person in New York Has to Spend the Night on the Streets

Quinn’s committed to fully fund runaway and homeless youth shelter beds to ensure the existing wait list is eliminated. LGBT Youth comprise an outsized percentage of the homeless youth population. These young people face serious long-term health challenges, with studies showing that approximately 20% of New York City’s homeless LGBT youth population become infected with HIV. By ensuring that funding for shelter beds are made permanent, advocates can shift focus from budget advocacy to helping youth obtain GEDs, learn trade skills, access physical and mental health services, and get on the path to financial independence. Additionally, Quinn will seek to expand services to young adults from 18-24. Currently, young New Yorkers age-out of federal and state programs targeted to homeless youth starting at 18 years old.

Build New York City’s First LGBT Senior Housing Community

Speaker Quinn will create a senior affordable housing community targeted to older LGBT New Yorkers. While this community will be available to all older adults, it will include services focused on the LGBT community, including social and cultural programs, helping connect seniors with available benefits, and provide economic case management and income security services. Quinn will also work to promote, facilitate and fund training for the city’s existing senior housing facilities, to make all senior housing more LGBT friendly.

Make Sure City Agencies Effectively Serve all LGBT New Yorkers

In order for New York City to provide effective services to all of our residents, the city needs to collect appropriate data about New Yorkers’ needs and the outcome of services provided to them. Currently, many city surveys don't include options for New Yorkers to indicate sexual orientation or gender identity, thereby not providing accurate data on service delivery and effectiveness for a large New York City demographic. As Mayor, Quinn will require city surveys and other data collection tools to include appropriate categories for tracking LGBT and transgender New Yorkers, who may have very distinct health and other needs.

Redouble Efforts to Combat Hate Crimes and Promote Tolerance

A series of recent hate crimes throughout New York have reminded New Yorkers that while significant progress has been made, there is still a long way to go before we completely eradicate hate. Quinn announced she would direct the NYPD to develop and implement a regular and sustained law enforcement strategy for high-target neighborhoods. She will also direct the Schools Chancellor to strengthen tolerance curriculum throughout the public school system. And she will ensure that community anti-violence organizations have the resources they need to effectively combat hate crimes.