Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today kicked off New York Pride 2018 by announcing the inaugural New York State LGBTQ Fellowship to serve in the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer to ensure inclusivity and fair representation in state government. The inaugural fellowship will be named in recognition of the legacies of Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Edie Windsor in recognition of their groundbreaking work in the fight for equal rights. In addition, the Governor announced the 2019 World Pride Ambassadors Competition to highlight the diversity of New York's LGBTQ community prior to the event next year.
"New York is proud to be a national leader in protecting and advancing the rights of the LGBTQ community, and Pride week is an important time to reflect on the fact that our work isn't done," Governor Cuomo said. "With these actions, we are helping to ensure that diversity is embraced and promoted across the state, and that New York will continue to serve as a beacon for all."
"As the birthplace of the LGBTQ rights movement, New York is continuing our tradition of embracing diversity with these exciting initiatives," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Pride Week is a time to honor the past, celebrate the present, and move forward with determination to protect the rights of our LGBTQ community. New York is proud to launch these new programs named in honor of three trailblazing women who made progress a reality, and helped fulfill the promise of America."
At the direction of the Governor, the NYS LGBTQ Fellowship is established to support the ongoing efforts in the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer. The LGBTQ Fellow will be awarded every two years to an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to social justice, a track record of working on LGBTQ equality, civil rights and diversity issues, and a strong interest in a career in public service. The Fellow will serve in the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer and will work on continuing to build the state government's leadership as a model employer for New Yorkers of all gender identities and sexual orientations.
The fellowship is named after LGBTQ leaders who have—with their courage, tenacity and perseverance—raised awareness of LGBTQ issues and make a lasting difference in the LGBTQ community. The inaugural fellowship, which lasts for two years, will be named in recognition of three New York leaders: Edie Windsor for her advocacy and groundbreaking work in successfully challenging the federal defense of marriage act and Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera for their movement leading advocacy on behalf of the transgender community in New York.
The Fellow will have the opportunity to participate in educational and professional development programs and network with elected officials and industry partners that will help them to serve as an effective government leader and strengthen the network of LGBTQ policymakers and leaders in New York State.
The Fellowship is one of a number of new initiatives that resulted from a series of meetings and discussions between the Governor's Office and LGBTQ leaders focusing on ways to protect and advance LGBTQ rights in New York, especially for the transgender community.
World Pride Ambassadors
As New York prepares to host World Pride 2019 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and the start of the movement for LGBTQ rights, Governor Cuomo has established the 2019 World Pride Ambassadors Competition to highlight the diversity of New York's LGBTQ community.
To participate in the competition, LGBTQ New Yorkers from across the state are encouraged to submit video stories describing how they live out their New York Pride in their communities. The Ambassadors will be featured in World Pride outreach and marketing materials, as well as future anti-bias and discrimination campaigns leading up to World Pride 2019.
Throughout his time in office, Governor Cuomo has been a national leader in championing LGBT rights. In 2011, New York passed the historic Marriage Equality Act and sent a message to the nation that it was time to end one of society's greatest inequities. In 2015, Governor Cuomo implemented regulations affirming that all transgender individuals are protected under the State's Human Rights Law, and all public and private employers, housing providers, businesses, creditors and others should know that discrimination against transgender persons is unlawful and will not be tolerated in New York State. Last year, Governor Cuomo nominated Paul Feinman to the state's highest court - the New York Court of Appeals - becoming the first openly gay person to serve on the court.
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