Tag Archives: LGBTQ

Astoria couple starts nonprofit to bring together international LGBTQ human rights activists


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Hugo Fernandes

One Astoria-based nonprofit is looking to unite and provide support for LGBTQ human rights activists from around the world.

Husband and husband duo Evan Davidoff and Hugo Fernandes founded the organization the Global Partnership for Emerging Leaders (GPEL) earlier this year with the goal of helping empower emerging leaders within the LGBTQ global community.

The idea of the group was born after Davidoff, who has a background in nonprofit/fundraising and LGBTQ rights, attended numerous conferences which brought the LGBTQ community together and he wondered what happened to the connections made after the events were over.

“It’s this amazing thing, you have these three to four days where everyone is charged and all together but then after it’s like what’s next?” Davidoff said.

Evan Davidoff and Hugo Fernandes

Evan Davidoff and Hugo Fernandes

The Astoria resident always had the idea of forming the group as a passion project on the side but then decided to make it a reality after sitting down and speaking with his husband.

GPEL is based out of Astoria, which the couple has called home since 2008, and the couple plans to use the neighborhood as the location where LGTBQ activists from around the world will come together for the group’s first conference in July 2016.

Although the location of the conference is still being determined, the group would like participants to stay at hotels in either Astoria or Long Island City.

“I think there’s something nice to staying in the community and having the organization exist from here because from my viewpoint Astoria and Long Island City is right for startup culture,” Davidoff said. “Just for us in the eight years we’ve been here, Astoria and LIC have really changed and transformed and I think Astoria has always had this international fare. It’s something that stood out to me and I think that’s something that’s really novel of Astoria particularly and to me it would be interesting to be based here.”

Those who participate in the conference will be able to use the tools provided by GPEL and other LGBTQ activists to “use in the fight” back in their home countries. The group also plans to be a network where members can communicate and share experiences even after the conference is over.

To help with starting out, GPEL also began an Indiegogo online campaign with the goal of raising $2,000 which will go toward activities for the LGBTQ human rights activists and also help provide funds for participants making the trip to the city for next year’s conference.

An official launch party for GPEL, which has already created a leadership team in New York and is forming a team with members throughout the world, is expected to take place in September.

To donate to the campaign, click here. For more information on GPEL visit gpel.org or facebook.com/TheGPEL.

GPEL's Leadership Team

GPEL’s Leadership Team

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PHOTOS: Jackson Heights celebrates 23rd annual Queens Pride Parade and Festival


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office/Gallery by Angy Altamirano

Under sunny skies, Jackson Heights was filled with color and music Sunday afternoon as the neighborhood celebrated this year’s Queens Pride Parade and Festival.

Kicking off the parade, which ran down 37th Avenue from 89th Street to 75th Street, was Mayor Bill de Blasio, who made history by becoming the first New York City mayor to serve as a grand marshal of the parade. He joined APICHA Community Health Center, which was also one of the grand marshals.

“This parade stands for a rejection of any bias and prejudice against the LGBT community,” de Blasio said. “We will not stand in this city for anyone who would harm our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community. And this parade stands for that resolute value of New York City.”

De Blasio became the first mayor to march in the parade last year, and even marched in 2013 while still serving as public advocate.

Joining the mayor were local elected officials such Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Council members Daniel Dromm – who founded the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee over 20 years ago – Jimmy Van Bramer and Julissa Ferreras, and other city and state officials.

The theme of this year’s parade was “Pride – Strength – Unity,” according to organizers.

“We know what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told us – ‘The arc of history is long but it bends towards justice.’ This parade epitomizes that constant movement towards justice. Let’s keep going. Let’s keep marching on until the day when everyone is truly embraced,” de Blasio said to paradegoers.

At the end of the parade, which featured colorful costumes and even four-legged participants, visitors were able to enjoy the Queens Pride Festival, which ran along 37th Road from 74th to 77th streets.

The festival featured about 100 vendors, community and social group booths and two stages of entertainment with performances that went on throughout the day.


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Open call for Queens-based LGBTQ performing artists for Jackson Heights concert


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File Photo

Flushing Town Hall is looking for LGBTQ entertainers to help kick off Pride Month in Jackson Heights this June with music, words and the performing arts.

The nonprofit organization is holding an open call for Queens-based LGBTQ performing artists to take part in a free, outdoor concert on June 6 at 5 p.m. in Diversity Plaza, located at 37th Road and 74th Street, in Jackson Heights.

The LGBTQ-themed concert, sponsored in part by Councilman Daniel Dromm, will celebrate the start of Pride Month and the immigrant LGBTQ communities in the borough. The following day, the organization Queens Pride will be hosting the 2015 Pride Parade and Festival in Jackson Heights down 37th Avenue. 

Flushing Town Hall is encouraging all LGBTQ musicians, dancers, poets and spoken word artists, actors and theater artists, and other performing artists based in Queens to submit applications. 

“It’s a great opportunity for artists based in Queens to perform for their peers in a free setting,” said Sami Abu Shumays, Flushing Town Hall deputy director. “It’s an exciting outdoor event.”

Applications must be submitted by May 1 through email to Shumays at sshumays@flushingtownhall.org with the subject line “LGBTQ OPEN CALL 2015.”

The emails should include a statement of interest and description of proposed performance (200 words maximum), biographical details (300 words maximum), and work samples. Artists may submit mp3, jpg or video files. The samples can be included as an attachment or via a URL where they can be viewed, for example on YouTube or a website link.

Flushing Town Hall will then select three to five applicants to perform during the June concert. Artists will be notified during the week of May 11. 

For more information, click here.

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Jackson Heights to host 22nd annual Queens Pride Parade


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The streets of Jackson Heights will be filled with pride this weekend as the borough comes together to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community.

On Sunday, elected officials as well as supporters and members of the LGBTQ community from throughout the city will gather for the 22nd Queens Pride Parade and Multicultural Festival hosted by the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee.

Celebrating the accomplishments of the global LGBTQ community, the theme for this year’s event is “A World of Pride.” The theme will also emphasize the need to continue the attention on the struggles that still have to be addressed in regards to human rights, according to organizers.

Grand marshals for the parade include Queens council members Daniel Dromm, one of the founders of the parade in 1993, and Jimmy Van Bramer, who was the first elected official in the borough to get married after New York legalized same-sex marriage. Manhattan council members Corey Johnson, Rosie Mendez, Brooklyn Councilman Carlos Menchaca and Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres will also join the procession.

“Our grand marshals reflect how far we have come to be integral in our government, community and our visibility,” Queens Pride co-chair Chris Calvert said.

Melissa Sklarz, president of the Stonewall Democratic Club, will also be honored during the event for her leadership and as a transgender member of the community. Founded in 1986, the Stonewall Democratic Club is the first citywide LGBT Democratic organization in New York City.

The parade kicks off Sunday at noon at 84th Street and 37th Avenue and ends at 75th Street. The festival also begins at noon with about 100 vendors along 37th Road from 74th to 77th Street, performances and family-friendly entertainment.

For more information on the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee visit www.queenspride.org.

 

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NYPD investigating South Ozone Park attack as hate crime


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of 106th Precinct

A Far Rockaway man was struck with a trophy outside of a bar, resulting in several medical staples to his head. He said he was attacked because he is gay.

“The bouncer let my basher run before the cops came,” said Zaman Mohamed Amin, the victim and a well-known figure in the LGBTQ community, on his Facebook page. “I received seven staples in my head.”

The incident, on Sunday, June 23, involved two victims, allegedly attacked in front of Players Restaurant and Bar in South Ozone Park. LGBTQ’s Anti-Violence Project (AVP) said they were both hit in the head with the trophy and verbally attacked by several unidentified people. Amin was sent to Long Island Jewish Hospital, where he received treatment for the laceration on his forehead.

“I am out of the hospital, even [stronger] now than ever, and ready to take this community and fight for my LGBTQ rights,” he said.

The NYPD told the AVP they are looking into the incident as a hate-motivated attack.

“Hate crimes must stop,” Amin said. “No one gives another person the right to hit another. We are all children of God no matter our race, sexual orientation, color of our skin, religion or gender.”

A man who identified himself as a manager at Players Restaurant and Bar said he could not comment on the attack.

 

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Queens holds 21st Pride Parade


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Colorful flags and smiling faces were filled with pride as they took to the streets in Jackson Heights to celebrate the borough’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community.

On June 2, elected officials, supporters and members of the LGBTQ community from throughout the city gathered for the 21st Queens Pride Parade and Multicultural Festival hosted by the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee.

“In light of the recent hate crimes, we are sending a clear message that we are never going back in the closet and we have a lot to celebrate,” said Councilmember Daniel Dromm, who helped found the parade in 1993.

Dromm was joined by fellow openly gay colleagues Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Van Bramer was the first elected official in the borough to get married after New York legalized same-sex marriage.

“It was really supported by the community,” said Dromm. “Parents brought their kids, and on all sides of the parade route people were clapping and cheering.”

The parade, which kicked off at 85th Street and 37th Avenue, is the second-largest LGBTQ pride celebration in New York.

SEE MORE PHOTOS FROM THE PRIDE PARADE

The grand marshals for this year’s parade included openly gay pro boxer Orlando Cruz and PRYDE, the LGBTQ Justice Project of Make the Road NY.

The festival, which drew protesters decades ago, now brings thousands of onlookers who shout positive reactions and showed their full support.

“People are waving, there is a happy atmosphere going down 37th Avenue,” said Anne Quashen, president of the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Queens Chapter. “You don’t feel any animosity or any hatred, you feel a community coming together.”

Participants marching in the parade ranged from cheerleaders with Cheer New York to four-legged supporters who marched and waved their tails alongside the bright rainbow flags.

“This is my first time at the parade and it’s such a unique experience,” said Nestor Rojas, 24, of Jackson Heights. “It’s really great to see so many people get together and just accept one another.”

 

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