Did you know that Brooklyn is the only borough of this great city that does not have a gay pride center? On Thursday, the steps of Borough Hall played host to a collection of Brooklyn heavy hitters to talk about plans to change that.
“Love is love, it’s that simple,” Borough President Marty Markowitz’s talking points boomed from his stout frame, as he advocated measures toward equal rights in New York and beyond. He mentioned with great fondness Miriam Friedlander, a gay rights advocate and a leader in AIDs awareness that died earlier that morning after more than 40 years of service and two decades of work as a city council woman representing the East Viliage and the Lower East Side.
Long awaited details about the nonprofit Brooklyn Community Pride Center’s (BCPC) location were met with the confirmation that spaces are being looked at in the “brownstone belt” – Fort Greene, Park Slope and Prospect Heights. Markowitz and the City Council have supported the growing center to the tune of $2 million in allocated funds.
According to their website, the center aims to “provide a safe, common space offering physical and mental health services, social support, recreational and cultural programming, as well as being a hub of information for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and families in Brooklyn.”
“It’s unimaginable that Brooklyn, the most populous borough of New York City, is the last to have its own LGBT community center,” said Thomas Smith, president of the BCPC’s Board of Directors. “From the beginning, Borough President Markowitz has made establishing one a priority by reaching out to diverse LGBT groups from throughout the borough and providing critical funding and partnerships to support our collective vision. This important community resource will provide support groups, information, and other much-needed services for LGBT Brooklynites—everyone from the 11-year-old gay son living in public housing and being teased at school in Central Brooklyn to the Park Slope retiree who just lost her partner of 35 years and has nowhere to turn.”
Board members of the center also include two out former political candidates, Norma Jennings, an attorney who ran for Civil Court in 2005, and Bob Zuckerman, a candidate for city council earlier this year. The center’s planning board also includes members of the Lambda Independent Democrats and Stonewall Democrats.
Carlos Menchaca, a Markowitz staffer, piped up about organizing buses for protestors to travel to Washington, DC this weekend for the National Equality March. The march on Washington is meant to bridge the gap between grassroots organizations and larger national efforts for the gay community. The handsome political aide will be up bright and early Sunday at 6am to depart Williamsburg, the bus returns to New York at 10:30pm.
Meanwhile, Markowitz yammered on, taking a stab at Governor Sanford’s trips to Argentina and John Edwards infidelities, saying, “It’s time to put up, or shut up.”