RELEASE: Melissa Mark-Viverito Unveils LGBTQIA Platform — Calls for More Opportunities to Empower LGBT Entrepreneurs and Businesses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2018




Mark-Viverito advocates for LGBTQIA liaisons in every agency; calls for ban on City funds to entities that engage in LGBTQIA discrimination; and uplifts the transgender community


NEW YORK — Melissa Mark-Viverito today released her LGBTQIA platform, calling for a new procurement program to help LGBTQIA entrepreneurs and LGBTQIA-owned businesses access City contracts. Mark-Viverito’s platform also proposes LGBTQIA liaison in every city agency; calls on the city to prohibit funding groups that discriminate against LGBTQIA people; and supports efforts to make healthcare, jobs, and housing more accessible to the trans and gender non-conforming community. Mark-Viverito also calls on more city funding for runaway and homeless LGBTQIA youth, HIV testing and support services, and elder care.


“I have always used my voice to speak up and advocate for immigrants, for women, and for our LGBTQ communities—for renters, for subway riders, and for working families. New Yorkers of every gender identity and sexual orientation deserve respect and the opportunity to thrive. By advocating for a new LGBT business initiative, for trans rights, and for LGBT liaisons in every agency, I hope to make this city more welcoming and safe and for all New Yorkers,” said Public Advocate candidate Melissa Mark-Viverito.


“Melissa Mark-Viverito has a long history as a great ally and advocate for LGBTQ New Yorkers. Her leadership as NY Council Speaker helped to protect transgender New Yorkers in pursuit of quality healthcare, safety from violence and inclusion of every aspect of New York public life. As our Public Advocate, being elected city wide will help her promote the values and vision that will serve all New Yorkers,” said Melissa Sklarz, LGBTQ activist.


“Melissa Mark-Viverito has long been a champion for LGBTQ rights and when it comes to standing by our side, she has never hesitated in saying, ¡presente! During her tenure as both a member of New York City’s Council as well as its speaker, Melissa has consistently been one of our most visible and vocal allies in NYC government. Just as she has stood with us by our side, I’m proud to stand with Melissa Mark-Viverito as our next Public Advocate,” said Ed García Conde, LGBTQ Activist and Founder and Editor of Welcome2TheBronx.


“This is one of the most progressive agendas for LGBT rights ever put forward by an elected official candidate in this country and it needs to become a reality. LGBTQIA New Yorkers remain one of the city’s most vulnerable populations -and this agenda would address those economic, social and health disparities. Melissa has great support from LGBTQIA leaders because she has been with us throughout her entire career, and we are proud to support her,” said Samy Nemir Olivares, founder of advocacy group Queeramisú. “In the face of attacks from the federal government and conservative forces, New York City needs a strong, unwavering and committed leadership like Melissa Mark-Viverito to ensure our communities are well represented in local government, which has so much power over our lives.”




Support for the LGBTQIA Community: Melissa has spent a lifetime advocating for the rights of and providing support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual Community.  As a City Councilmember for 12 years, including 4 years as Speaker, of the Council, Melissa built a record of getting results for the LGBTQIA community.


Among her many notable accomplishments benefiting the community, Melissa:


1) Enacted legislation requiring single occupant restrooms be usable by persons of any gender — allowing transgender and gender non-conforming individuals to use the restroom that best aligns with their identity;


2) Expanded housing opportunities for LGBTQIA seniors;


3) Allocated funding to hire a dedicated staff member to act as LGBT liaison for schools at the Department of Education;


4) Allocated millions of dollars to fund and support organizations and institutions dedicated to the betterment of the lives of LGBTQIA New Yorkers;


5) Organized local activists and her colleagues in the City Council to fight right-wing, conservative, anti-gay forces within  the Puerto Rican community during the movement for Marriage Equality; and


6) Championed LGBTQIA rights and issues both in her East Harlem neighborhood and across the City as well as with local activists in Puerto Rico.


As Public Advocate, Melissa is committed to continuing this level of support for the community through her attention to, advocacy for, and implementation of specific projects, proposals, and legislation identified as priorities by the LGBTQIA community, including:

1) Support an Executive Order that prohibits the expenditure of City funds to any entities that engage in discrimination against the LGBTQIA community;

2) Advocate for legislation to create a new procurement program to support LGBT entrepreneurs and LGBT-owned businesses access City contracts;

3) Support City funding to provide HIV testing, care, and support services, with an emphasis on communities of color, those currently most disproportionately affected by HIV;

4) Support City funding for runaway and homeless LGBTQIA youth services in the form of education, transitory housing, paid agency internships, and other transformational opportunities designed to help them break the cycle of homelessness;


5) Advocate for City funding for programs to support the unique needs of LGBTQIA Seniors including programs designed to protect these seniors from elder abuse in all its various forms from financial abuse to physical abuse;

6) Identify and support the specific, unique needs of the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community (TGNC) including economic justice in the form of educational, employment, and housing opportunities for the transgender community


7) Convene public hearing on the effectiveness of transgender guidelines based on the NYPD Patrol Guide revisions;


8) Continue the staff position of liaison to the LGBTQIA community in the Public Advocate’s office;

9) Introduce legislation to have an LGBTQIA liaison in each New York City Agency; and


10) Introduce legislation to form a TGNC Advisory Board for NYC Health and Hospitals.