Bottcher joins Cabán as co-chair of City Council’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus 

Councilmember Erik Bottcher of Manhattan.
Councilmember Erik Bottcher of Manhattan.
Donna Aceto

Erik Bottcher of Manhattan will replace Brooklyn’s Crystal Hudson as co-chair of the City Council’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus, Council representatives told Gay City News on Feb. 29. Bottcher is joining Tiffany Cabán of Queens, who will continue serving as co-chair.

“I am honored to have been elected by my caucus colleagues to serve as co-chair of the City Council LGBTQIA+ Caucus alongside Councilmember Tiffany Cabán,” Bottcher told Gay City News in a written statement on Feb. 29. “Together, we will continue fighting for New York City’s queer community and pledge to work tirelessly to achieve a city that celebrates diversity, ensures equity, and uplifts every voice. I also want to thank Councilmember Crystal Hudson for her service as co-chair and look forward to continuing to fight for LGBTQIA+ New Yorkers at the City Council.”

Bottcher, who is also co-chair of the Manhattan delegation, represents District 3, which includes SoHo-Little Italy-Hudson Square, West Village, Chelsea-Hudson Yards, Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown South-Flatiron-Union Square, and Midtown-Times Square. Bottcher previously worked as chief of staff under his predecessor, former City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who had occupied the seat for the previous two four-year terms. Bottcher was first elected in 2021 and won re-election late last year in back-to-back two-year terms.

District 3 has long served as a key LGBTQ stronghold in the Council dating back to the early ‘90s. Before Bottcher and Johnson, former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former Councilmember and State Senator Thomas Duane, both out lawmakers, also represented that district.

Bottcher, for his part, is a veteran of the city’s LGBTQ political scene. He also served under Quinn as LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS liaison and completed a stint with former Governor Andrew Cuomo during the campaign for marriage equality in New York State. 

Bottcher and his LGBTQIA+ Caucus colleagues have worked together on initiatives like Marhsa & Sylvia Plan, a comprehensive, multi-pronged policy agenda intended to support queer New Yorkers across the five boroughs. But he also was ensnared in the backlash against LGBTQ rights, with his home and office facing vandalism by bigots who scrawled slurs like “groomer” on the sidewalk.

Bottcher’s elevation to co-chair represents the first leadership change for the caucus since it was overhauled at the end of 2021 when all of the previous out city lawmakers left office due to term limits. Under the fresh class of out city lawmakers, Cabán and Hudson became co-chairs of the caucus and changed the name from the LGBT Caucus to its current — and more inclusive — name, the LGBTQIA+ Caucus. Since then, the caucus has lost one member, Kristin Richardson Jordan of Harlem, who did not run for re-election last year. The other members include Chi Ossé of Brooklyn, Lynn Schulman of Queens, and Staten Island’s David Carr, who is the caucus’ only Republican. 

As co-chair, Hudson — who is still a member of the caucus — proposed legislation to support the community in times of need — such as when she was the lead sponsor of a bill to bolster the city’s efforts to combat monkeypox — and used her leadership role to speak out when necessary on issues of importance to the community. 

Last June, as she and Cabán announced legislation aimed at supporting sex workers, Hudson stressed that the bill sought to ensure “equity, safety, and just treatment under the law for all New Yorkers, especially those at the margins of our communities.” When Hudson and other city lawmakers rallied with community members at City Hall in 2022 to condemn anti-LGBTQ appointees in the Adams administration, she told the crowd that New Yorkers did not vote to elect “bigots” to City Hall. And in 2022, as Queens city lawmaker Vickie Paladino unleashed anti-LGBTQ slurs and railed against drag story hour, the LGBTQIA+ Caucus called on the City Council “to take immediate action by censuring this member and removing her from her committee assignments.” Paladino was later removed from the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addiction.