Councilmembers from New York’s ‘gay district’ bare all at The Center


And Tom begat Chris begat Corey begat Erik.

In a revealing forum at the LGBTQ Community Center on May 18 on the City Council’s “gay district” — District 3 — all the out councilmembers who have represented the seat that was carved out in 1991 to give an LGBTQ candidate a good shot at winning shared their political and personal journeys in office, their links to each other, and what they were able to accomplish for the city’s LGBTQ communities.

Gay activist Tom Duane won the seat in 1991 in his second try and after the Redistricting Commission made the Village-Chelsea district more winnable for a gay person. When he was elected to the New York State Senate in 1998, his former chief of staff, lesbian activist Christine Quinn, who had become executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, succeeded him through a special election and went on to become the first out LGBTQ speaker of the Council. She left office due to term limits. Corey Johnson, whose gay activism began in high school and who had chaired Chelsea’s Community Board 4, won the race to succeed Quinn in that district and also went on the become speaker.