A lawyer by training, Richard Socarides became one of the most visible gay people in America in the early 1990s, when he served as an adviser on gay and lesbian rights to President Bill Clinton. Socarides is a regular contributor to The New Yorker – where he published a column about coming out to his father, a psychoanalyst and prominent proponent of conversion therapy. He is a trustee of the State University of New York.
The 2019 Pride Power 100; 66 - 100
The 2019 Pride Power 100; 66 - 100
When Kelsey Louie was named CEO of Gay Men’s Health Crisis in 2014, the world’s oldest HIV services organization was in the midst of its own crisis, plagued by mismanagement and struggling financially. Louie has taken a data-driven approach to getting Gay Men’s Health Crisis back on its feet, both as a service provider and policy advocate as New York City and state politicians seek to move closer to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2020.
As head of Harlem United, which serves more than 16,000 HIV-positive New Yorkers, Jacquelyn Kilmer plays a lead role in combating AIDS among New York’s African American community, which is disproportionately affected by the disease. Under her watch, Harlem United opened a state-of-the-art health care facility on 133rd Street. An experienced attorney, Kilmer left the Denver firm where she was a partner to join the organization in 2010, ascending to the CEO role in 2015.
Mitchell Draizin’s day job is running Longview Capital Advisors, a real estate financial services firm. He helps build political careers too by supporting progressive candidates – including LGBTQ officials like state Sen. Brad Hoylman, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres. Draizin co-founded the Bronx LGBTQ Center and the CUNY LGBTQI Student Leadership Program and has served on the Hunter College LGBT Social Science & Public Policy Center advisory board.
Michael Adams heads the nation’s largest organization advocating on behalf of the growing population of LGBTQ seniors, which includes people with HIV who are now able to enjoy their golden years thanks to effective treatments. Adams is among community leaders that politicians turn to when crafting policy that affects LGBTQ seniors. Together with Donald Capoccia and BFC Partners, SAGE is developing New York City’s first LGBTQ-friendly residential building for seniors – in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
Carl Siciliano has grown the Ali Forney Center – an organization he founded in 2002 – into the country’s leading service provider for homeless LGBTQ youth, reaching nearly 1,400 young people every year. In addition to providing housing, the nonprofit operates a 24-hour drop-in center, and medical and mental health clinics, as well as providing treatment for substance abuse. In 2012, Siciliano was named a White House Champion of Change by President Barack Obama.
As Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues efforts to stop the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Doug Wirth tells Gay City News that preventive health care should be expanded to reach vulnerable populations. Wirth served on Cuomo’s Task Force to End the AIDS Epidemic in New York state by 2020 and was senior health policy adviser to former New York City Mayors Rudy Giuliani and David Dinkins. In the 1980s, he ran several homeless shelters in the Midwest.
Ken Mehlman, who came out in 2010, went from managing George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign – which used same-sex marriage as a wedge issue against John Kerry – to becoming an advocate for same-sex marriage. In his role at global investment firm KKR, Mehlman has overseen a number of significant projects, including a partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund. He is a former chairman of the Republican National Committee and a noted donor to LGBTQ political causes.
If Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is elected mayor of New York City in 2021, he’ll have top aide Paul Del Duca to thank. Del Duca, who has worked alongside Diaz since his Assembly days, has helped his boss build a credible record to run on citywide. A longtime member of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, Del Duca also played a pivotal role in getting his boss to support same-sex marriage.
Whether or not the 31-year-old public defender wins the Democratic nomination for Queens district attorney, the progressive candidate has succeeded in drawing attention to the push to reform prosecutorial practices. Tiffany Cabán, who has endorsements from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and The New York Times, has pointed to the role of her queer Latina identity on her career and the legal challenges faced by the LGBTQ community.
A leading advocate and adviser on policy issues related to LGBTQ youth, Thomas Krever recently celebrated the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which establishes transgender rights and bans conversion therapy. “We are confident that this move opens the opportunity to thrive for more young transgender and gender-nonconforming and nonbinary New Yorkers,” he told Gay City News. Krever is head of the nation’s largest LGBTQ youth services nonprofit, overseeing outreach and programs for at-risk youth.
After more than 18 years at The Legal Aid Society – most recently as supervising attorney of its LGBT law and policy initiative – last year Kimberly Forte launched her own consulting firm. Known for her work advocating on behalf of low-income LGBTQ New Yorkers and fighting for the rights of LGBTQ youth, Forte tells City & State she is particularly proud of The Legal Aid Society’s victory securing Medicaid coverage for transition-related health care needs.
Jared Arader is the latest leader of Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, one of the largest and most influential LGBTQ political organizations in New York. Shortly after taking over in January, Arader, who also works for the New York City Department of Education, oversaw the group’s endorsement of Melissa Mark-Viverito in the city’s public advocate race – continuing a long track record of backing candidates in key races in Brooklyn and beyond.
A consortium of Long Island-based nonprofits led by David Kilmnick for more than 25 years, The LGBT Network recently expanded into New York City, opening a center in Long Island City, Queens. With more than two decades of experience advocating for LGBTQ communities, Kilmnick is a go-to adviser for Long Island politicos. He is behind the New York Mets’ recent Pride night at Citi Field and the nation’s first suburban prom for LGBTQ youth.
Juli Grey-Owens, who has been a visible presence in New York’s transgender activist community for more than 15 years, knows discrimination firsthand. In 2015, she was fired from her job as a manager at a manufacturing company after her employer discovered she was transgender. Thanks in part to Grey-Owens’ fierce advocacy – she was lead organizer behind the campaign to enact the state’s Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act – New York now forbids employment discrimination against transgender people.
After her partner of 30 years died of cancer in 2002, Wilhelmina Perry rediscovered her religious faith – but she also found that many African American churches do not welcome LGBTQ individuals. She co-founded LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent, which seeks to combat homophobia in African American communities of faith. She also co-founded the Interfaith Task Force for LGBT Homeless Youth, which works with churches to establish shelters for young LGBTQ people.
Known for his work supporting various LGBTQ causes, the longtime activist, member of advocacy group ACT UP and founder of the Treatment Action Group helped develop Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2015 plan for ending the AIDS epidemic. “Activism is about overcoming pessimism, and I witnessed the queer community fight back during its darkest hour,” Staley told Out magazine, reflecting on the activism of recent decades. He is working on a memoir – due out this year.
As president of The Calamus Foundation, Louis Bradbury oversees initiatives that support the LGBTQ community – including more than $25 million in grants during the past decade. He has served as board co-chairman of the Empire State Pride Agenda as well as board president of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. He began his career as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice and later became president and CEO of Revere Copper & Brass Inc.
Last year, Melissa Sklarz mounted an Assembly campaign that would have made her the first transgender member in the legislative body. Already the first transgender person to hold elected office in New York, as a judicial delegate, she garnered more than a third of the vote in her 2018 primary challenge to Assemblyman Brian Barnwell in Queens but fell short. This year, she started a new job at SAGE, an organization serving older LGBTQ adults.
Ellyn Canfield has a long history with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, from an internship in his City Council office up through her promotion earlier this year to director of the Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management. A NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service alumna, Canfield works behind the scenes coordinating the many events, activities, and TV and film shoots that take place across the five boroughs every day.
A longtime activist in the LGBTQ rights movement, David Mixner has led the fight for LGBTQ equality in education, the military and marriage. “The purpose of a movement is not to prove how right you are,” he recently told The Advocate, “but to make it comfortable for others to join you.” In addition to co-founding the LGBTQ Victory Fund, Mixner is a prolific writer.
David Mansur doesn’t make headlines himself, but the veteran political consultant has been a key behind-the-scenes player as a fundraiser for some of New York’s best-known politicians at the city, state and federal levels, including state Attorney General Letitia James. His go-to consulting firm was formerly called Nashban Mansur, but when his business partner moved to Oregon last year, he brought on Allegra Scheinblum and renamed the fully LGBTQ-owned firm Culver Place Strategies.
One of the foremost journalists covering local LGBTQ issues in New York, Paul Schindler has served as the editor-in-chief of Gay City News and its predecessor publication, Lesbian and Gay New York, for well over two decades. The former investment banker has spearheaded coverage on key policy issues like transgender rights and gestational surrogacy while holding accountable elected officials who make anti-gay statements – as well as their colleagues who continue to support them.
When pride week rolls around each June, New York City is the place to be. And this year’s festivities are bigger than ever, since it’s the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion and the birth of the modern gay rights movement. The nonprofit Heritage of Pride organizes the June 30 Pride March and related events, and Maryanne Roberto Fine and David Studinski are ensuring everything goes smoothly.
The son of a former West Virginia senator and state attorney general, Mario Palumbo Jr. is among the real estate industry donors who contributed to Gov. Andrew Cumo’s recent reelection campaign. Several years ago, the managing partner of real estate giant Millenium Partners helped round up donations for Christine Quinn’s New York City mayoral campaign. He is a former board president of The LGBT Community Center and the current board chairman of Friends of the High Line.
The 83-year-old founder of AIDS advocacy group ACT UP and Gay Men’s Health Crisis could rest on his laurels as one of the best-known gay rights activists, as well as an author and playwright, but he continues to push back against the Trump administration, Big Pharma and public health organizations. “AIDS is worse than ever,” Larry Kramer told medical publication Stat. “The worst is yet to come. Again,” he warned in a New York Times op-ed.
John Gallagher made a name for himself as a spokesman for then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, deepened his industry expertise at Tishman Hotel & Realty LP and Tishman Construction Co., and then joined the public strategy firm Mercury, where he was named a partner in 2017. The communications consultant also brings valuable experience on campaigns, in legislative offices and in advocacy – including as a former board member of Empire State Pride Agenda.
A reporter for BuzzFeed News covering politics, Dominic Holden has been shining a spotlight not only on anti-LGBTQ groups but also on the failures of pro-LGBTQ organizations. Before moving to New York City, Holden was news editor at The Stranger, an LGBTQ weekly in Seattle. He previously worked as an organizer for the American Civil Liberties Union, campaigning for marijuana reform. In 2016, he was named Journalist of the Year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
Allen Roskoff’s advocacy began in the 1970s when he was agitating for change, lobbying for legislation and working for candidates who supported gay rights, including Mario Cuomo and David Dinkins. He is a longtime member of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, named after New York City’s first openly gay candidate for political office. The activist remains an outspoken voice and his endorsement is sought by progressives.
Joseph McMillan Jr., who has spent the past decade overseeing DDG’s expansion to its current $2.5 billion portfolio, credits the U.S. Army with teaching him discipline and work ethic, he told The Real Deal. He’d like to see more infrastructure improvements in New York City, including establishing congestion pricing, he said in a Q&A with real estate publication Yimby. He serves on the Real Estate Board of New York’s board of governors.
A former CBS producer who joined the activist group ACT UP in the 1980s, Ann Northrop described herself in a Washington Blade op-ed as “a strange hybrid of journalist and activist, which are not mutually exclusive.” Andy Humm, a former spokesman for the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights, similiarly embraces the role of activist-journalist. Both Northrop and Humm have battled to get LGBTQ people accepted into the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Last year, TD Bank created an innovative initiative offering specialized banking services to the large pool of clients who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer – and Steven Garibell was installed to run it. The Wells Fargo Bank alum and Montclair State University graduate told Crain’s New York Business last year, “We want to be a part of the community 365 days a year, not just during Pride Month.”
A prominent bankruptcy and commercial litigation attorney known for his more than three decades of pro bono work on behalf of the LGBTQ community, Jeffrey Trachtman has been involved in notable cases, including the fight for same-sex marriage and efforts to secure equal rights for transgender students. Trachtman, who manages his firm’s ongoing pro bono relationship with Gay Men’s Health Crisis and The LGBT Community Center, received the 2019 Gay City News Impact Award.
Last October, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that Priya Nair would be the first New York State LGBTQ fellow in the administration’s Empire State Fellows Program. The role involves ensuring the state is a “model employer for New Yorkers of all gender identities and sexual orientations,” according to the governor. The 2015 Vassar College graduate previously worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and as the LGBTQ liaison for the New York City Council speaker.
Ronald Richter has fought for children’s rights in and out of government – as a Legal Aid Society lawyer, as a state Family Court judge overseeing child welfare cases, as the commissioner of the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, and as the leader of JCCA, one of New York’s largest child and family services organizations. As the father of an adopted child, Richter is outspoken in supporting LGBTQ foster and adoptive parental rights.