Christine C. Quinn (she/her) is president and CEO of Win, the largest provider of shelter and supportive services for New York City’s homeless families, where she advocates at all levels of government for policies to end homelessness. She also serves as executive committee chair of the New York State Democratic Party. Christine has dedicated her career to advancing LGBTQ rights and is the highest-ranking openly LGBTQ+ official in City history, having served as the first openly gay New York City Council Speaker from 2006 to 2013.
What is your favorite Pride Month event or celebration?
It’s hard to choose — but my favorite Pride celebration is The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center’s annual Garden Party. Not only is The Center’s Garden Party a beautiful event, but it raises money for an organization that has been an anchor for the LGBTQ+ community for nearly four decades.
What LGBTQ+ icons or activists have inspired you?
There are too many to name — but a few leaders who have inspired me include the first elected official I worked for, State Senator Thomas Duane; Assemblymember Deborah Glick; Harvey Milk; and Barbara Hughes. They are all individuals who have dedicated their lives to fighting for LGBTQ+ rights and who have shown me what it truly means to be a public servant.
What can people and corporations do to support the LGBTQ+ community year-round, not just during Pride Month?
Allyship can be — and should be — practiced every day. Volunteer and donate to LGBTQ+ organizations year round. Support LGBTQ+ businesses. Be an educated voter. Across the country, politicians at the local, state, and federal levels are attacking LGBTQ+ Americans, especially the youngest and most vulnerable members of our community. Use your voice and your vote to ensure that our country is moving forward, not backwards.
How can businesses create more inclusive environments for their employees and patrons?
The first step to creating more inclusive environments is recruiting and retaining staff from all walks of life. When your employees have different lived experiences, they will create an inclusive environment for their colleagues and customers. On a corporate level, businesses should support LGBTQ+ employee resource groups and ensure sure their health benefits cover transgender employees’ medical needs.