New York City is and always will be home to one of the largest, most vibrant and most impactful LGBTQIA communities in the world. From well before Stonewall, to the decades since, and far beyond, New York City is a haven, home and harbor for all people to live with dignity, regardless—and, in fact, WITH regard—for their orientation, identity and expression.
LGBTQIA individuals have contributed so much to our city’s arts and culture sectors, our city’s health and wellness, our city’s economy, and to our city’s very essence. Maya Wiley recognizes and celebrates these contributions and is committed to building a New York that is inclusive, safe and supportive for all. Throughout her career, Maya has dedicated herself to the causes of social justice and civil rights, and will be bringing those values with her to City Hall. As we emerge from this pandemic and begin to rebuild, Maya is committed to advocating for LGBTQIA communities every single day.
Building a Strong, Equitable Economic Recovery for All: Our economy is in crisis and we need bold action to meet this moment. In order for our economy to recover, we must center the needs of our city’s workers and small businesses and do everything we can to get people back to work and ensure that every workplace is a respectful, inclusive environment where everyone can work with dignity. Maya’s New Deal New York plan will jumpstart our city’s economy by:
- Investing $10 billion in a Works Progress Administration-style infrastructure, stimulus and jobs program, providing a shot in the arm of our City’s economy–putting residents back to work and investing in the future of our communities; and
- Creating up to 100,000 new jobs for New Yorkers. 30,000 will be new jobs through projects that will employ artists, construction, technology, and engineer workers, along with approximately 70,000 indirect jobs for childcare workers, librarians, home healthcare workers, and manufacturers; and
- Supporting and centering our city’s unions in our economic recovery efforts, targeting job creation for union jobs and providing support and solidarity to labor unions in all negotiations with employers and with the city.
- Continuing to fund and strengthen the NYC Unity Works program, a targeted workforce program for LGBTQIA homeless youth.
Investing in our Care Economy and Supporting Care Workers: The pandemic has shown us how essential our city’s caregivers and care workers are to the health and safety of our city. It also exposed the inequities in our city’s health care system and the need to ensure access to quality, affordable care. The LGBTQIA community has been aware—and victim to—these inequities for decades. Maya Wiley knows that we must invest in care moving forward, with a focus on equity and access. Maya’s Universal Health Coverage plan and Universal Community Care plan will accomplish this by:
- Creating a City sponsored, privately managed health plan to offer affordable health insurance, regardless of income or immigration status, for uninsured New Yorkers. Based in 11 public hospitals, the NYC Care program, which enrolled 60,000 previously ineligible New Yorkers, is geographically limited. Maya’s plan will give participants the opportunity to use many more of NYC’s world class health care providers.
- Partnering with CBOs and fund programming for LGBTQIA organizations to conduct outreach, educate, and support enrollment for the City’s new health plan.
- Expanding funding for culturally competent mental health services for the LGBTQIA community and work to increase access to HIV and STI prevention medications and additional funding for staff at city hospitals that will act as case managers and advocates for Transgender, non-Binary and Gender Nonconforming patients.
- Creating Community Care Centers in all five boroughs that offer childcare, elder care, health care, and community programs that provide support services for the LGBTQIA population
- Providing $5,000 annually to 100,000 high-need families, supporting at-home care workers and caregivers and recognizing that their work deserves to be paid work.
Reviving Tourism, Arts and Culture: No group of workers in New York City has been hit harder by the pandemic than arts workers. Museums, theaters, galleries and other arts spaces closed for over a year and only now are beginning to sputter back to life. Thousands of NYC-based artists fled the city due to lack of employment and our vitally important arts scene has suffered greatly. The LGBTQIA community is and always will be essential to the vibrancy of arts and culture in our city. In order to reopen our city and ensure economic recovery, we need a dramatic reinvestment in tourism, arts and culture and to strengthen protections for all arts workers to root out past abuse and marginalization. Maya’s Plan to Revive Tourism, Arts and Culture will:
- Invest $100 million dollars in a Creative Economy Recovery Program to put arts and culture workers back to work and help cultural institutions to recover; and
- Launch a grand re-opening festival to reopen the city, reemploy thousands of artists, creators and arts workers, and once again draw the tourists and visitors upon which our economy relies; and
- Launch the Council on Arts Revival with Equity (CARE), ensuring that the revitalization of arts and culture in our city truly serves every artist and creator, rooting out the abuse and marginalization of the past and building a stronger, more equitable arts sector for New York’s future.
Transforming Policing and Public Safety: Since Marsha P. Johnson threw that first brick at Stonewall and well before it, LGBTQIA organizers and activists have been leaders in the fight for civil rights and demanding basic respect and dignity from the NYPD. As we seek solutions to the rising gun violence and crime in our city, we must also seek reform and transformation within our policing and public safety systems. No one should ever fear the NYPD, least of all LGBTQIA individuals. Maya’s plan to Transform Policing and Public Safety will:
- Divest $1 billion from the NYPD and reinvest that money directly into communities impacted by both gun violence and police violence, empowering community organizations to take the lead on public safety and shifting focus on the root causes of crime itself.
- Appoint a true civilian Police Commissioner, ensuring oversight of the NYPD that is truly objective and civilian-led to root out abuse and mistreatment and hold officers accountable for that behavior.
- Ensure that the repeal of the Walking While Trans ban is upheld and that no member of the LGBTQIA community is ever targeted by the NYPD for expressing their identity; and
- Ensure the NYPD appropriately genders individuals when releasing information.
- Eliminate the VICE Squad, which has caused disproportionate harm to LGBTQIA New Yorkers.
Ending Evictions and Ensuring Affordable Housing for All: We are in an affordable housing crisis in our city—a crisis that long predated the pandemic. In order to break the cycle of unaffordability and evictions and homelessness—especially among LGBTQIA youth—we need comprehensive reforms to our system and strong protections in place. Maya’s plan to End Evictions and Ensure a Just and Livable NYC will:
- Invest federal stimulus money in a direct rent relief program that will support tenants and small landlords
- Invest in housing solutions for the LGBTQIA population that have unique housing needs and create holistic solutions to the housing crises faced by LGBTQIA individuals experiencing systemic discrimination.
- Address chronic homelessness among the LGBTQ community by creating enough permanent supportive housing to outpace the shelter need
- Support LGBTQIA homeless youth by increasing funding for both emergency shelter beds and transitional beds, and funding the New York City Unity works program.
- Enforce stronger eviction protections through increased legal representation, expanding the income threshold for low-income tenants.
- Usher in a new era of housing affordability by ensuring that the City only invests public money or land where there is a clear public benefit.
- Guarantee affordable rent for all individuals and families making 50% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI), ensuring they do not pay more than 30% of their income on rent.
- Aggressively expand the City’s Rental Assistance program so it becomes an effective tool to ensure affordability long-term.
- Dramatically expand and preserve the supply of affordable housing in the city by building 100% permanently affordable housing on public land and use public funding as a tool to promote equity, not private benefit.
- Invest $2 billion in NYCHA improvements, reopening the nearly 5,000 NYCHA units that are currently uninhabitable and preserving NYCHA as our city’s most reliable source of affordable housing
Creating a Strong, Vibrant School System: This past year has been incredibly challenging for our teachers and students alike. In order to avoid losing a generation of NYC kids, we must make a dramatic reinvestment in public education and focus our efforts on safe, inclusive and culturally responsive education for every single NYC student, especially our LGBTQIA youth. Maya’s plan to create a Just, Vibrant School System will:
- Invest $250 million to hire 2,500 new teachers for our schools, lowering class sizes and guaranteeing every student has the personalized care and attention they need in order to learn and thrive; and
- Center community engagement in all school practices and decisions and provide training for all staff on gender justice to ensure stronger support for LGBTQIA youth;
- Greatly increase the number of mental health professionals in our city’s public schools and make sure they have the capability to address the unique mental health challenges of LGBTQIA students.
- Expand anti-bullying programs while making sure that all public school students have access to comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education that includes discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Create a CUNY scholarship program for LGBTQIA students
Center the Needs of Women in Our City’s Recovery: Women were impacted especially hard during this pandemic, recording record job losses and forced into impossible choices between their careers and their families. The burden fell even harder on LGBTQIA women, adding yet another challenge to the discrimination and marginalization they have long faced. In order to rebuild our economy and our city, women must be at the forefront of our policy decisions. Maya’s Women’s Agenda will:
- Create Community Care Centers in all five boroughs childcare, elder care, health care and community programs to assist families to over 1 million New Yorkers; and
- Direct $4.35 million to create birthing centers in every city-owned H+H hospital, targeting communities of color that have had the highest instances of maternal mortality; and
- Address the link between domestic violence and lack of opportunity, particularly for women, guaranteeing meaningful employment opportunities for women and LGBTQIA women.
Working Toward a City Free of Domestic and Gender-Based Violence: We need a multifaceted approach to ending domestic and gender-based violence, one that recognizes that each of the contributing factors must be tackled to end this epidemic: improving the economic independence of women and LGBTQIA folks; responding to harmful gender norms; increasing community knowledge of and access to support services; long term, comprehensive intervention programs for perpetrators; and decriminalizing survivors of domestic violence. All of these approaches will be available and responsive to survivors of same-sex/gender partner-violence and to those identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. Maya’s plan will:
- Address job loss and unemployment, particularly among women of color, the LGBTQIA community through New Deal New York, which will allow for some of the most at risk New Yorkers to gain economic independence by creating 100,000 jobs; and
- Strongly enforce NYC’s Human Rights Law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression; and
- Create an awareness campaign around the harms caused by gender stereotyping, and use inclusive and gender neutral language in all official documents and press releases and make sure all city agencies do the same; and
- Create awareness campaigns focused on Family Justice Centers, one stop shops intended to support survivors, and NYC’s HOPE Program, the City’s DV resource website. Community Care Centers will be information hubs for those seeking culturally competent services related to domestic and gender-based violence; and
- Pilot a range of interventions to improve on existing batterer’s intervention programs (BIPs), including psychotherapeutic models. Evaluate these programs carefully to develop service networks based on evidence of effectiveness; and
- Ensure that domestic violence is a central part of the legal system and police reform efforts, recognizing that the current criminalization and policing responses to domestic violence simply don’t work.
- Support critical funding for the LGBT Community Services Initiative and the Trans Equity Program Initiative, which offers education programs, legal guidance, employment services, workforce development, and healthcare services for the LGBTQIA community.
New York City has been and must remain a haven and a home to the LGBTQIA communities that give this city its vibrancy, its economic vitality and its moral center. As mayor, Maya Wiley be an advocate and ally for LGBTQIA New Yorkers, which is why she has been endorsed by Billy Porter, the Lesbian & Gay Demoractic Club of Queens, New York Working Families Party, Freelancers Union, the New York Progressive Action Network and many others. She is the leader we need for this moment and stands ready to fight for the needs of LGBTIA New Yorkers and build a stronger, more inclusive city for all.