A voter is like a rainbow. Chase the rainbow.

Canvassing, going door-to-door, phone banking.  The retail politics of being face to face, eye to eye, and voice to voice with a voter to talk about that candidate you are out supporting.  The man that answers you in a towel and looks a little bit horrified that you are not who he was expecting.  The lady that answers the door and curtly lets you know she could never vote for your candidate.  The unanswered calls, unopened doors, and blank gazes. Campaign work can be daunting, but there's a payoff.

This past Saturday I joined Stonewall colleagues working for State Senate candidate Adam Haber.  I've never met Haber, but I read his platform and am confident he's a great candidate for the LGBT Community and New York State.  LGBT New Yorkers have too much at stake in this election and we can't forget that.

We will very likely have a Governor Cuomo that has not only supported our issues, but has championed them.  No other Governor before or since could've or would've gotten marriage equality passed through the New York State Senate.  It took political navigation skill.  Cuomo is a political lion tamer and until Albany truly reforms he is the best possible master to that beast.  To get GENDA passed and conversion therapy banned and surrogacy law reformed, Cuomo needs a solidly Democratic Senate.  So in pursuit of those goals, on Sunday I went walking door-to-door through a lovely suburban neighborhood in Roslyn, NY.

Early on there was the super-supportive lady that was awesome and happy to see my canvas-buddy Blaise and me and was punching me in the arm and just totally from central casting for "amazing voter".  Then there was a series of empty houses, "people that might have been napping", cute dogs that knew how to get to the window via furniture, modest supporters, more empty houses, and lots and lots of fun Halloween yard displays.

The most satisfying visits were to undecided voters, and one was particularly memorable.  He opened the door in comfortable clothes and bare feet.  He smiled and welcomed us.  We explained why we were there and he let us know:  He was undecided.  He'd seen signs for both Haber and the GOP incumbent, but didn't know much about either.  We asked some quick questions and learned more about what interested him and spoke to why Haber was the best choice for him.  We let him know about Haber's background as a small business owner and as a former school board member.  We gave him all we had and when we were done?  We had a Haber voter.

When you're out canvassing, you hope that every transaction you have will result in getting an additional vote.  Not every one does, but you get that One and then that Next One and then Yet Another and Even More.  And that's the fun part.  Voters are like rainbows.  You always hope to see a rainbow after a rainstorm.  They're not always there, but you still keep looking.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES for GOTV efforts are in full effect.  Canvas or phone bank and most of all:  Chase the rainbow! 

CLICK HERE to find out how you can help & RSVP to volunteer with SDNYC! 


Volunteer With SDNYC!

Click here to RSVP to join SDNYC at the volunteer opportunities listed below.

Domenic Recchia for Congress
Saturday, October 25, 1:00 PM 
Campaign HQ, 7321-15th Avenue, Brooklyn (Take the D train to 71st Avenue; walk one block west on 71st Street, then two blocks south on 15th Avenue.)Saturday, October 25, 1:00 PM 
---If you need a little extra motivation to join SDNYC in getting Democratic leaders like Domenic Recchia elected to Congress and defeat Republicans like Recchia's opponent, Michael Grimm - click here to find out what the Republican party has planned for our nation in 2015...and then sign up to help SDNYC get out the Democratic Vote! 

Adam Haber for State Senate
Sunday, October 26, 11:00 AM 
Long Island, NY (RSVP for directions/travel information)

Democrats Take Back the NYS Senate Phonebank
Thursday, October 30, 6:00-8:00 PM
80 Eighth Avenue, NY (at 14th St.)

Last Day To Register To Vote in Nov. Election!

TODAY (October 10, 2014) is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the November 4th Election


Not sure if you're registered? Click Here To Check Your Voter Registration & Poll Site

Need To Register? See below for in person and mail registration instructions.

In Person Registration for State/Local Primary Election:

Today is the last day to register in person for the November 4th Election.

To register in person visit your local County Board of Elections Office (See below for NYC County Board of Elections Offices) or any state agency participating in the National Voter Registration Act.

Mail Registration for State/Local Primary Election:

Today is the last day to postmark mailed voter registration applications for the November 4th Election.

The NYS Board of Elections must receive your registration application via mail by October 15.

To register by mail, download the voter registration form and mail the completed form to your local County Board of Elections Office (See below for NYC County Board of Elections Offices).

Download Voter Registration Form (English)

Download Voter Registration Form (Spanish)

Board of Elections Offices for NYC:

Bronx County

Bronx County Board of Elections

1780 Grand Concourse-5th Floor, Bronx, NY 10457

Phone: 718-299-9017

Fax: 718-299-2140

Kings County (Brooklyn)

Kings County Board of Elections

345 Adams Street - 4th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Phone: 718-797-8800

Fax: 718-246-5958

New York County (Manhattan)

New York County Board of Elections

200 Varick Street - 10th Floor, New York, NY 10014

Phone: 212-886-2100

Queens County

Queens County Board of Elections

126-06 Queens Boulevard, Kew Gardens, NY 11415

Phone: 718-730-6730

Fax: 718-459-3384

Richmond County (Staten Island)

Richmond County Board of Elections

1 Edgewater Plaza, Staten Island, NY 10305

Phone: 718-876-0079

SDNYC Statement on NY Hate Crimes Act Audits

SDNYC Statement on the First Audits of the NY Hate Crimes Act

Stonewall Democrats of NYC (SDNYC) commends NYS Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli for issuing the first ever audit of the NY Hate Crimes Act at the request of NYS Senator Brad Hoylman. These audits shine a light on this important issue that directly impacts the safety of the LGBT community by examining the NYC Police Department (NYPD) and the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS)' methods for recording and reporting hate crimes in NYC. SDNYC echoes the Comptroller's call for changes to the NYPD / DCJS' current methods for tracking of hate crimes and for the NYPD to better use the data collected to prevent future hate crimes in NYC. The NYPD has agreed to the audit's recommendations and SDNYC looks forward to reviewing an update from the Department in the near future. Click here for more information about the audits released today.

SDNYC President Eunic Ortiz said, "There are far too many hate crimes in our City each year, especially crimes against members of the LGBT community. The recommendations set forth by Comptroller DiNapoli and Senator Hoylman, along with the NYPD's promise to begin implementing these initial recommendations, is just the first step in combating these heinous crimes. SDNYC applauds the Comptroller and the Senator for their leadership on this issue and looks forward to working with our elected leaders and the NYPD to reduce the number of hate crimes in our City to the only acceptable number: ZERO."

Press Coverage of SDNYC - Back To School Meeting!

Thank you to Chalkbeat for covering SDNYC's September meeting on LGBT Policies for students, teachers and families in NYC schools! Read the story below or check it out on the Chalkbeat website.

LGBT students get support from Fariña, but more is needed, advocates say

Originally posted on Chalkbeat by Patrick Wall on September 18, 2014

In the span of just a few months this year, the city’s schools became more welcoming places for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, advocates and lawmakers said Wednesday during a discussion hosted by an LGBT political club.

Since February, the city’s education department has issued guidelines to help schools support transgender students, the schools chancellor encouraged educators to discuss LGBT issues with students, and the state incorporated the gay rights movement into its history standards, speakers noted at the talk, which Chancellor Carmen Fariña and two other school officials attended.

But, they said, the city could still do much more to embrace all students.

Transgender students can still be restricted from using certain restrooms or playing competitive sports under the new guidelines. Bullying is still a major issue, yet many school staffers and students get little training on how to prevent it. And it is unclear if the city’s new social studies curriculum will incorporate gay history, they pointed out.

“We need to have a gay pride celebration in every school. We need to have a gay-straight alliance in every school,” said City Councilman Daniel Dromm, a former Queens elementary school teacher who made headlines years ago when he came out as gay. “I’m tired of waiting.”

Elayna Konstan, head of the education department’s Office of Safety and Youth Development, answered a question during the panel discussion.
PHOTO: Patrick Wall
Elayna Konstan, head of the education department’s Office of Safety and Youth Development, answered a question during the panel discussion.

Dromm, who chairs the council’s education committee, held a hearing on LGBT students in February that Fariña attended. Soon after, she sent principals a memo promoting classroom lessons designed to give students a chance “to gain insight on and sensitivity toward the experience of their LGBT peers.”

On Wednesday, she said she had recently had such a discussion with her eight-year-old grandson, who said he sympathized with a classmate who is “a girl that wishes she was a boy.”

“It’s really, really important that we have these conversations with our kids,” Fariña said. She said that the 200 new school guidance counselors hired this year could help facilitate those discussions.

Rose Christ, vice president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, which hosted the discussion, said the club did not know of any previous chancellor who had addressed “an LGBT organization or spoken at a public LGBT event” focused on schools.

“It’s historic that she was here tonight,” Dromm said about Fariña, who left after making her brief remarks. The officials in charge of school guidance counselors and student safety stayed and participated in the discussion.

The education department released its first-ever transgender student guidelines earlier this year.

They say that schools should allow students to dress in a way that matches their gender identity and should use students’ preferred name and pronoun, except on official records. The guidelines are less clear about which restrooms and locker rooms students may use, or whether they can participate in contact sports, saying that “the safety and comfort of all students” must be considered.

The policies represent a “tremendous step forward,” said panelist Michael Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. But they could still be improved, he added. For instance, a transgender student who identifies as a boy but is not allowed to use the boys’ restroom “no longer feels like just another boy.”

Eunic Ortiz, president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, asks a question during the discussion.
PHOTO: Patrick Wall
Eunic Ortiz, president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, asks a question during the discussion.

While the state’s recently adopted social-studies standards cover gay history for the first time — meaning that high-school students could be tested on it — it is unclear whether the city’s soon-to-be-released history materials will include lessons on those events. Fariña did not resolve that question when asked Wednesday, saying only that she was open to discussing it further.

Since 2008, the city has required every school to designate an anti-bullying liaison and create an anti-bullying plan. Principals must train staff members on the city’s anti-discrimination policies, which prohibits mistreatment based on gender and sexuality, and students must receive at least one lesson on the discipline code, according to a department spokeswoman.

But Dromm and others noted during the discussion that the city does not require teachers to use its “Respect For All” lesson materials, and schools’ anti-bullying liaisons are the only staffers required to attend two-day trainings. Dromm added that when educators do talk about bullying with students, they sometimes leave LGBT issues out of the discussions.

The city does not record students’ gender identity or sexuality when documenting instances of school bullying or bias, making it difficult for advocates to spot trends, the panelists noted. Elayna Konstan, head of the department’s Office of Safety and Youth Development, said her office is still “exploring that with our lawyers.”

One panelist said the city should not ask students for that information, while others said the data is crucial for holding the city accountable for the safety of LGBT students.

“Our invisibility is our biggest enemy,” Dromm said.

Chalkbeat New York is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.

Back To School Meeting Photos!

Thank you Chancellor Carmen Farina for speaking with us about LGBT policies in NYC public schools! 

NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina & SDNYC President, Eunic Ortiz

NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina & SDNYC President, Eunic Ortiz

Panel discussion on LGBT policies for students, teachers & families in NYC. 


Thank you to our esteemed panelists: Council Member Danny Dromm, Chairman, Education Committee; Elayna Konstan, Head of Office of Safety & Youth Development for the DOE; Lois Herrera, Senior Director of Guidance & School Counseling for the DOE; Jared Fox, NYC Chapter Chairman, Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network; and Michael Silverman, Executive Director, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund! And of course many thanks to Paul Schindler, Editor, Gay City News for moderating our panel tonight!

Back to School! A panel on LGBT policies for students, teachers & families in NYC

SDNYC's next meeting will be this Wednesday, September 17th at 8 pm at the LGBT Center (208 W 13 St).

With September marking the start of the 2014-2015 school year, SDNYC's September meeting will be all about LGBT policies for students, families and teachers in NYC.

We are excited to welcome Special Guest Speaker, NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina.

We will also be joined by Council Member Danny Dromm, Chairman, NYC Council Education Committee; Jared Fox, NYC Chapter Chairman, Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network; Michael Silverman, Executive Director, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund and a Senior Official from the NYC Department of Education for a panel discussion of LGBT policies in NYC schools moderated by Paul Schindler, Editor, Gay City News.

This event is free and open to the public.

RSVP on Facebook to get the latest updates and to share information about this panel with your friends. All are welcome!