Hell’s Kitchen and its leaders feature heavily in City and State’s annual PRIDE 100 list of notable queer advocates who “are continuing to engage in the battle for LGBTQ+ rights, whether it’s in the halls of power, in the courts, in the C-suite or on the streets.”
Topping the PRIDE 100 list is State Senator Brad-Hoylman-Sigal, honored for his advocacy for the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, legal gestational surrogacy for LGBTQ+ people and others, expanding coverage of PrEP and PEP as well as protections for transgender youths in New York State. Hoylman-Sigal told W42ST: “My friends and colleagues have been ribbing me nonstop that I’m the ‘Number One Gay.’ All kidding aside, it’s an honor to be named to City and State’s LGBTQ Power List, given the nationwide campaign being waged against LGBTQ people, especially transgender children and their families. There’s much more work to do to ensure that New York remains a beacon of hope for LGBTQ people, and I’m thrilled to be recognized for my efforts in Albany with my colleagues in government, the nonprofit sector and private industry who work on these crucial issues.”
City Council Member Erik Bottcher, Tiffany Cabán, David Carr, Crystal Hudson, Kristin Richardson Jordan, Chi Ossé and Lynn Schulman of the council’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus were highlighted as having continually advocated for increased safety protections for queer New Yorkers, with Bottcher in particular highlighted as having spoken out against anti-LGBTQIA+ protesters and hate-motivated attacks in his district. Said Bottcher: “At a time when the LGBTQ+ community is under attack, it’s been so incredibly heartening to see so much support from community members and Allies, especially in Hell’s Kitchen. From the brick attacks at VERS to the targeting of gay men at nightlife venues, the response from our community has been truly incredible. During PRIDE month we celebrate the progress we’ve made while also recommitting ourselves to the fight for full equality.”
Bottcher joins his district predecessors, former City Council members Corey Johnson and Christine Quinn in a long legacy of LGBTQIA+ district leadership recognized by the PRIDE 100 list. Johnson, the first HIV-positive Speaker of the New York City Council, now heads up his own government consulting firm, CoJo Strategies. Quinn made the list for her work as the founder of WIN, a homeless shelter provider. Bottcher, Johnson, Quinn and former City Council Member Tom Duane made history by keeping District 3 represented by an out LGBTQIA+ lawmaker since 1991.
Former City Council candidate and founding member of the Hell’s Kitchen Democrats Marti Gould Cummings made the list for the fifth year running, honored not only for their history-making campaign as the first non-binary candidate for City Council but also for their work as an advisor to Equality New York, the Ali Forney Center as well as their career as a drag artist and advocate for drag story hour. “I am honored to be a part of the City and State PRIDE list for the fifth year in a row,” said Gould-Cummings. “To be among this list of LGBTQ leaders from across the state means a great deal to me. I am proud of the work we collectively do to ensure safety for our community in New York and will continue to do this work as PRIDE is needed now more than ever.”
Hell’s Kitchen-based Assembly Member Tony Simone was also named as part of a group of progressive New York lawmakers for his work on workplace equity and gender-affirming healthcare. “I’m deeply proud to be featured on City and State’s PRIDE 100 List alongside my incredible LGBTQ+ colleagues in the Legislature, community leaders and advocates,” said Assembly Member Simone. “Earlier this month, the Assembly passed two of my bills, one that removes the final vestiges of homophobia from New York State law, and another which protects interns from workplace discrimination based on their gender identity. We also finally passed the Transgender Safe Haven Act which will ensure all those seeking gender-affirming care will find sanctuary in New York. This PRIDE Month, LGBTQ New Yorkers can be confident their legislature will always stand up and fight for them.”
Hell’s Kitchen resident and Out Leadership CEO Todd Sears received a mention for his work to increase representation and inclusive practices in the financial sector, having created the first team of financial advisers on Wall Street focused on the LGBTQ+ community and raised nearly $2 billion of new assets from LGBTQ+ couples and nonprofits. Interviewed about his work for W42ST in 2022, Todd told us that Out Leadership was growing fast: “We have summits in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris, and Sydney. We have talent initiatives for young gay leaders, for gay women and for board leadership. We have about 700 CEOs who work both globally and about 30,000 business leaders. And we are the first and only global gay organization,” said Todd. “And we were the first LGBTQIA+ B-Corp and we’re the only global LGBTQIA+ Corp, which is something I’m proud of and something that started in Hell’s Kitchen.”
Midtown-based LGBTQIA+ leaders and organizations also got their due, with Related’s executive vice president Charles O’Bryne getting a shoutout for his work on government relations for the Hudson Yards-based developer, as did Doug Wirth, CEO and president of Amida Care, a special needs health plan that provides gender-affirming care.
Also honored was Troy Blackwell, Chairman of Big Apple Performing Arts (which operates the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, Tonewall a cappella group and the Youth Pride Chorus), who earned a nod for his work in boosting membership and diversity initiatives across all three singing groups. “I am deeply honored to be featured on the City and State LGBTQ PRIDE 100 at this critical moment in time and to represent the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, Tonewall and Youth Pride Chorus,” Blackwell said. “At a time when at least 417 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in state legislatures across the United States since the start of the year, I am proud that the choruses of Big Apple Performing Arts continue to be leaders in the movement for social justice in the heart of New York City.”
Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees — you make Hell’s Kitchen PROUD!