Ambassadors to Take Part in WorldPride and Stonewall 50 Celebrations
See Video Featuring Winners Here
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the winners of the WorldPride 2019 Ambassadors competition. The winners, selected to highlight the diversity of New York's LGBTQ community, will participate in WorldPride and Stonewall 50 celebrations to promote the LGBTQ rights movement, including participating in the Pride March. This year's WorldPride—the largest international LGBTQ Pride celebration—marks the first time it has been held in the United States. On June 1, Governor Cuomo announced the grand opening of the New York State WorldPride Welcome Center, located in New York City's West Village just steps from the Stonewall National Monument, and on June 5, Governor Cuomo announced the grand opening of the LGBTQ Pride Month exhibit at the Capitol.
"Pride month is a time to celebrate diversity and acceptance and the progress we've made in the fight for full equality, and there is no better place to host the United States' first WorldPride celebration than in New York," Governor Cuomo said. "Congratulations to our WorldPride ambassadors who are leading the way for LGBTQ rights and showing others around the world what makes New York State so special."
"Our history as a leader of the LGBTQ rights movement is a major point of pride for the state of New York," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "As we begin Pride Month and mark Stonewall 50, we are recognizing exceptional leaders who will take part in WorldPride events to honor our legacy in the continuing fight for equality. Our ambassadors will highlight our history and celebrate our diverse LGBTQ communities in every region of the state."
LGBTQ New Yorkers from across the state were encouraged to submit a video describing why they are proud of their municipality and state, and what in their town and region they would want to show off to LGBTQ visitors. From Buffalo to the Adirondacks to Queens, the WorldPride Ambassadors demonstrate that LGBTQ communities are everywhere in New York State. Our WorldPride Ambassadors are Angelique Piwinski, Ari Moore, Audrey De Jesus, Cecilia Gentili, Chelle Lhuillier, Drew Schiff, Judith Kasen-Windsor, Kelly Metzgar, Mohamed Q. Amin, Taylor, and Trenor Wilkins.
The WorldPride Ambassador competition is part of New York State's overall promotion of WorldPride 2019 and Stonewall 50. In June 1969, LGBTQ community members held spontaneous demonstrations at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, considered by many as the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ rights movement.
New York State and I LOVE NY continue to promote and encourage everyone to visit the state for Stonewall 50 and WorldPride 2019. Over the past year, in partnership with the organizers of WorldPride 2019 and Stonewall 50 (NYC Pride/Heritage of Pride), I LOVE NY has activated at Pride events across the globe to promote travel to the event and the state. A targeted print and digital advertising campaign has been launched, promoting special WorldPride events happening across the state. More information on I LOVE NY LGBT, including the WorldPride 2019 Travel Guide, is available here.
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "As we invite LGBTQ travelers from around the world to experience WorldPride in the Empire State, congratulations to our 11 Ambassadors who will further encourage visitors to explore New York and discover that our state is a welcoming place for all."
New York State Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, "WorldPride presents the perfect opportunity for LGBTQ visitors to plan a dream New York State vacation, and we are excited to welcome the 11 WorldPride Ambassadors to help spread the message. With major events planned across the state from Long Island to Niagara Falls, including the Stonewall 50 commemorations in New York City, there's endless opportunities for travelers to find what they love."
Chris Frederick, Executive Director, NYC Pride/Heritage of Pride said, "We thank Governor Cuomo and New York State for naming these WorldPride Ambassadors for this historic year as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. These individuals represent our rich diversity and the important work being done throughout the LGBTQ community across New York State."
Kelly Metzgar, WorldPride Ambassador from Saranac Lake said, "New York State has been a leader in the LGBTQ rights movement for years, and under Governor Cuomo's leadership this legacy is not only continuing, but becoming stronger than ever. I am thankful to Governor Cuomo for this opportunity to show the world how important Saranac Lake, the Adirondack North Country and the entire State of New York are to me and the LGBTQ community. I encourage everyone to visit the beautiful Adirondacks especially the high peaks region and the Lake Placid Olympic area when they are in New York celebrating WorldPride."
Ari Moore, WorldPride Ambassador from Buffalo said, "It means so much to me that WorldPride 2019 is being celebrated in my home state of New York. As an LGBTQ leader in Buffalo, I am proud to live in a State where equality, love, and acceptance conquer all. Governor Cuomo is one of our nation's fiercest advocates for LGBTQ rights, from passing marriage equality in 2011 to signing GENDA into law this year. I am grateful to the Governor for the chance to be an Ambassador for my State and to represent the LGBTQ community in Buffalo during this momentous celebration."
Throughout his time in office, Governor Cuomo has been a national leader in championing LGBTQ 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. Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo signed into law the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act and legislation banning the deplorable practice of conversion therapy, signifying a landmark victory for the LGBTQ community. Furthering protections and equality for New York's LGBTQ community, the passage of GENDA prohibits employers, educational institutions, landlords, creditors and others from discriminating against individuals based on gender identity or expression, and makes offenses committed on the basis of gender identity or expression hate crimes under New York State law.
In 2015, Governor Cuomo implemented regulations affirming that all transgender individuals are protected under the State's Human Rights Law, and ensured that all public and private employers, housing providers, businesses, creditors and others knew 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 - where he became the first openly gay person to serve on the court.