Mayor Eric Adams paid a visit to Destination Tomorrow in the Bronx on June 17 to announce new funding initiatives for the LGBTQ community.
The funding — which covers a range of areas, including legal services, education, and health — stems from topics discussed during roundtable chats with LGBTQ people of color in the community, Adams said.
“We are proud to invest nearly $6.7 million to support our LGBTQ+ youth, to put real dollars into transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary-focused non-profits, and to take a critical step forward to creating a more equitable New York city,” Adams said in a written statement.
The largest funding pot announced by the mayor includes $3 million to bring a financial counselor to eight runaway and homeless youth drop-in centers and employ 16 individuals with lived experience of homelessness in full-time jobs across those drop-in centers.
The funding also includes $1.5 million for educational workshops, support groups for parents, and social marketing campaigns to “promote parental and family acceptance” of queer youth; $1 million for legal services for income-eligible New Yorkers facing discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, or government benefits; $400,000 for an expansion of services, programming, and clinics serving people living with HIV/AIDS; $183,500 for targeted grants to non-profits led by transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary individuals; and $150,000 to evaluate the LGBTQ+ Health Care Bill of Rights and update the Health Department’s trans health guides.
The mayor has faced criticism in recent months since hiring three religious leaders with anti-LGBTQ records — Fernando Cabrera, Gilford Monrose, and Erick Salgado — to serve in posts in his administration. To this day, Cabrera still serves as lead pastor of New Life Outreach International, a church that has a homophobic statement of faith on its website defining marriage as the “exclusive covenantal union of one man and one woman” — even as he works in city government.
At the press conference, Adams asserted that some have dismissed his past support of LGBTQ issues like marriage equality and the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act. But he subsequently pointed to the broader backlash against LGBTQ issues nationwide and called on folks from other states to come to New York, which he described as “a place where we open our arms and accept and embrace all that want to live here.”
Leaders in attendance at the press conference said the administration responded to some of their concerns regarding the need for funding.
“We at Destination Tomorrow are excited about the mayor’s over $6 million investment in the LGBTQ community,” Sean Ebony Coleman, the executive director of Destination Tomorrow, said in a written statement. “This commitment, which focuses on the most vulnerable, is an important first step towards equity. We are also delighted that the mayor chose our Bronx center as the location for his announcement as this highlights the fact that many LGBTQ folks live, work and thrive here in the outer boroughs, and that we are in need of support and resources too.”
New Pride Agenda executive director Elisa Crespo, who successfully fought to encourage the state to establish a Trans Wellness and Equity Fund in New York State, said the mayor’s funding announcement is a “very targeted and intentional investment in our community.”
“This is the result of advocates expressing their concerns and government hearing the calls and taking action,” Crespo said in a written statement. “This new funding will support organizations who serve the LGBTQ community, particularly trans-led organizations who have bore the brunt of inequitable funding for far too long. We look forward to working together with the mayor’s team to continue advancing our communities’ priorities.”