Mayoral hopeful Eric Adams joined elected officials and community leaders on October 30 for an LGBTQ unity rally ahead of the November 2 general election.
The event was held at The Q — an LGBTQ bar at 795 Eighth Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen — and featured several out elected officials, including Congressmember Ritchie Torres of the Bronx, State Senator Brad Hoylman of Manhattan, and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson of Manhattan. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer were also in attendance.
Manhattan City Council candidate Erik Bottcher, who is running unopposed in the race to succeed Johnson in District Three, introduced Adams to the crowd.
“I greatly look forward to working with you in the months and the years ahead,” said Bottcher, who easily dispatched the competition in his Democratic primary race earlier this year. “We’re not going to agree all the time, but we’re going to sit down and be productive and put politics aside.”
Taking the stage, Adams acknowledged that he will not always agree on every issue — “I don’t agree with myself all the time,” he said — but stressed the importance of sitting down to discuss issues “from a place of how do we make this city better for everyone.”
The unity rally sought to bring together a community that supported different mayoral candidates during the hotly contested Democratic primary campaign earlier in the year. Adams’ LGBTQ record includes standing in support of marriage equality during his time in the State Legislature and allocating funds to LGBTQ groups as Brooklyn borough president, but he has also expressed his opposition to the decriminalization of sex work, which is a top LGBTQ issue, and in 2019 he drew attention for comments he made at the opening of an LGBTQ affordable housing complex for seniors in Brooklyn.
Now, however, many leaders and groups in the community — including the citywide Stonewall Democratic Club, which went with Scott Stringer in the Democratic primary — are supporting Adams in his general election competition against Republican nominee Curtis Sliwa.
During his speech, Adams invoked historic LGBTQ figures ranging from Harvey Milk to Marsha P. Johnson and Marlon Riggs as he called attention to homeless and runaway LGBTQ youth, mental health services for queer people, and violence against transgender individuals.
“When I stood on the floor of the State Senate and talked about the right of marriage equality, I was not talking about just what was happening at the time,” Adams said. “I closed my eyes before speaking, I thought about Harvey Milk, and I thought about these other heroes and sheroes who paved the way for where we are right now.”
Adams also recalled his time working as a Police Captain in the NYPD when he would visit homeless queer youth at Christopher Street. Those individuals, he said, “just wanted to live their lives,” and he vowed to prioritize the needs of marginalized LGBTQ communities in New York City.
“I am still that wide-eyed beat cop that went from being abused to fighting abusive behavior and answering calls of service,” Adams said. “And I’m going to serve you in a way that you’ve never witnessed a humble servant serve you before.”
Former Manhattan State Senator Thomas Duane, District Leader Melissa Sklarz, New Pride Agenda executive director Elisa Crespo, Destination Tomorrow executive director Sean Coleman, and Harlem Pride co-founder Carmen Neely were among many other community leaders on hand at the rally.
Following the event, Adams took to Twitter and used Rainbow Flag emojis to thank supporters for showing up.
“What better way to kick off the final weekend of early voting,” Adams wrote. “Thank you to everyone who attended our GOTV LGBTQ+ unity rally!”