Category Archives: Youth

50th Anniversary of Stonewall Inn

The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative (SIGBI), the official 501(c)3 of the Stonewall Inn, announced that it will host its annual PRIDE reception on Monday, June 4th at the historic Stonewall Inn.

Launched in 2017, SIGBI is inspired by the struggles and ideals of the LGBTQ rights movement born from the Stonewall Inn Rebellion of 1969 though its awareness campaigns, educational programming, fundraising and candid public dialogue.

“We are excited to once again partner with Jet Blue and Brooklyn Brewery to support The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative. The Initiative supports grass roots organizations across the country and especially those in places where equality has been slow to arrive.” Said Stacy Lentz, Co-owner of the Stonewall Inn and CEO of the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative. “With their generous support the Initiative is able to do the much-needed work of helping some of the most undeserved LGBTQ communities.”

This year, in response to the devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico, SIGBI will highlight the work of Proyecto Matria, which works to advance the equity of LGBTQ communities from two areas: human rights activism and the offering of services in the field of economic development and housing. Matria also has educational programs to train other organizations, public agencies and communities on how to stop discrimination against LGBTQ people and create safe spaces from an equity perspective.


SIGBI will also announce two major campaigns:

The inaugural Stonewall Auction, running now through June 12th on Charitybuzz is offering once in a lifetime celebrity experiences and items for bid, . Also, the Stonewall Inn Ambassadors, a cohort of activists, celebrities, and influencers, who will work together to elevate awareness and support for SIGBI over the next 12 months and through the 50th anniversary of Stonewall on June 28, 2019. Stonewall Inn Ambassadors include Chelsea Clinton, Bryan Lourd, Laverne CoxRobbie RogersGeena Rocero and Cleve Jones. Please see full list at the end of this release.

Both campaigns are programs of Pride Live Nation,

During the reception, there will be a performance by Michael Blume and remarks by featured speaker Chely Wright.

Indie/soul artist Michael Blume has released his latest songs “R U Mad” and “Blunder” – from his upcoming EP Cynicism &Sincerity, which will be out June 8th via S-Curve Records. The songs are available now at all digital music outlets, including SpotifyApple/iTunes, and Amazon……

See the new  video!   (PRESS HERE to watch)

The forthcoming EP release comes following a whirlwind year for Blume. Since arriving on the scene in 2015, New York-based singer, songwriter, and artist Michael Blume has consistently delivered daring, diverse, and dynamic anthems blurring the lines between simmering and soaring. He’s attracted acclaim from Rolling Stone, GQ, Nylon, Ladygunn, Pigeons & Planes, Earmilk, and Dujour and turned the uninitiated into believers at Governor’s Ball, Firefly, Lollapalooza, and will be performing at the Bonnaroo Music Arts Festival on June 10th.

Chely Wright rose to fame as a commercial country singer in the 90’s and has since released eight studio albums and charted more than 15 singles on the Billboard charts. The Academy of Country Music named Wright “Top New Female Vocalist of 1995.”

About Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative

The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative is inspired by the struggles and ideals of the LGBTQ rights movement born from the Stonewall Inn Rebellion of 1969. Through awareness campaigns, educational programming, fundraising and candid public dialogue, The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative supports grassroots organizations across the country with a focus on those in communities where progress toward equality has been slow and discrimination, harassment, substance abuse, depression and suicide have become an unacceptable way of life. You can donate to SIGBI by visiting:


Ali Forney Wants to Buy a Church

The Ali Forney Center (AFC), the nation’s largest and most comprehensive organization dedicated to homeless LGBT youth, is raising funds to buy Pastor David James Manning’s Harlem Hate Church, after it was announced that the property is up for auction.

A judge ordered Manning’s church be put up for public auction because Manning has failed to pay $1.02 million in public debts. Manning claims that these debts are largely related to unpaid water and sewage bills which he says he doesn’t have to pay because of his church’s tax exempt status.

Manning, of course,  is known for the hateful language in his church sign, and his YouTube videos, one of which claimed that Starbucks puts gay semen in its lattes.

Via Ali Forney:

AFC hopes to raise at least $200K through an initial public fundraising effort, and will seek to leverage those funds to obtain additional support from local government, major donors and foundations. If the Ali Forney Center is not able to obtain the building, it commits to utilize any funds raised to increase its housing and vocational services for homeless LGBT youth in another site.

Read more  HERE

Visit   Ali Forney



Sherry Vine’s Queer TV Network

Drag Darling Sherry Vine Launches Queer Network, gaySVTVworld

The Internet is getting a whole lot gayer! International drag darling Sherry Vine and former Here-TV executive Josh Rosenzweig are combining their style, humor and sensibility into a one-stop, digital destination for all of the world’s LGBTQ entertainment needs. gaySVTVworld premieres February 14 with original shows, specials, music videos, short films and more: all free at

“The world needs gaySVTVworld because they are hungry for original programming from top queer talent,” says Sherry Vine. “We got ‘em all: Haus Of Mimosa, Pickles, David Serrano, Chris Semers … and this is only the beginning.”

“gaySVTVworld is created by and for LGBTQ audiences,” adds Josh Rosenzweig. “Nobody is going to tell our stories like we will. While our visibility has increased enormously over the last decade with the launch of several LGBT television networks, it is essential that the community have an online space to call our own. A destination where we can go to find like-minded artists and feel the power of the collective.”

While gaySVTVworld draws inspiration from a traditional television model, it also presents a modern digital age spin with all shows under-seven minutes long. “We’re offering short content so people can view several episodes in the same amount of time as one traditional TV show,” explains Vine. “Maybe you only have five free minutes on your way to work or during a lunch break. That’s enough time to catch a hilarious episode of Fashion Puhleez on your smart phone!”

The network will kick off its first season with a slate of eight programs, releasing daily, beginning with Sunday’s Sherry and the Greek, an original talk series starring Vine and Chris Semers, discussing a variety of fun topics and performing skits, characters, and musical numbers.

On Monday, queer notables share their pop culture picks on EduGAYtion. Then Tuesday, The Rachel Zoe Show meets Project Runway in Fashion Puhleez, with lead players in the beauty industry discussing fashion, club couture and styling.

House of Mimosa presents The Anita & Gina Marie Show, a comedic show that chronicles the daily antics of two women as they cause mayhem throughout Astoria, Queens (singing out – or rather, airing out – all their dirty laundry) gets viewers over hump day. Then its Throwback Thursdays with Pickles, a look back at a public access show that offers a glimpse into the gay, downtown art and nightlife scene of New York in the nineties.

Celebrate the end of the workweek with The Flames of Hell’s Kitchen, a telanovela about the life of Sherry Vine, her manager Gloria, assistant Busted and sexy Latino boyfriend, Diego. In the first season, Sherry wins big, loses everything, slips back into a life of drugs, and faces an intervention. The show stars David Serrano, Busted, Patty McKeever and Al McKeever.

Finally, on Saturday, it’s movie night as gaySVTVworld presents The SVTV Short Film Fest, an online festival dedicated to spotlighting the very best LGBTQ filmmakers from around the world. Each week is a new short film along with interviews from the filmmakers and special bonus features.

In addition, What’s In Your Purse?, a hilarious two-minute segment featuring Vine cornering nightlife celebrities and forcing them to reveal the contents of their bags, will run throughout the week.

“We knew launching a network was an ambitious endeavor but there are so many things we didn’t think of,” admits Vine. “Josh and I and our amazing team have literally been working every day on gaySVTVworld for almost a year now.”

“So much of that time has been spent on brainstorming ideas, reaching out to people we wanted to work with and deciding on a slate we felt confident about,” continues Rosenzweig. “We have several shows that are in various stages of development. Our intention is to continue to keep rolling out new programs, music videos and comedy sketches.”

Sherry Vine’s hilarious video parodies have made her a YouTube sensation, being viewed over 14,000,000 times! She got her start in downtown NYC but today tours the world with her live singing and comedy shows. Vine has appeared on the off-Broadway stage, in numerous films including Stonewall and Wigstock and she starred in two seasons of Here TV’s variety show, She’s Living For This, produced and directed by Josh Rosenzweig.

Josh Rosenzweig served as SVP of Here TV for ten years where he produced over two hundred hours of television programming including She’s Living For This and Heart of Broadway: An Inside Look at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. He was also the host of the hit TV talk show Just Josh. Rosenzweig has directed many music videos, award-winning films and over forty productions for the theater. He has been nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards.

gaySVTVworld premieres February 14 at


Bea Arthur LGBT Residence

On Monday, July 20, 2015, there will be a groundbreaking ceremony for the Bea Arthur Residence, an 18-bed residence for homeless LGBT youth operated by the Ali Forney Center.

In 2012 the New York City Council and the Manhattan Borough President awarded $3,300,000 for the renovation of a long vacant building owned by the New York City Department of Housing and Preservation Development.

The building has now been turned over to the Ali Forney Center in partnership with Cooper Square Committee, and renovations are beginning this month. It is anticipated that the building will begin to provide housing by the end of 2016.


Bea Arthur gave one of her final public performances as a benefit for the Ali Forney Center in 2005. She was very upset to learn that hundreds of thousands of LGBT teens were rejected by their families, and driven to homelessness. She said that she would do anything in her power to help these teens. When she died in 2009 the Ali Forney Center learned that she had bequeathed $300,000 to us in her will. At that time, Carl Siciliano, the Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center, pledged that the first building they owned would be named in her memory.

The groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the building site, located at 222 East 13th Street at 1pm. In attendance will be the staff and clients of the Ali Forney Center, as well as invited politicians who have supported this project and the work of the AFC, including Brad Hoylman, Democratic Senator for the New York State Senate in Manhattan’s 27th district, New York City Council Members Richie Torres, Danny Drum, Carlos Menchaca and Rosie Mendez, a representative from Mayor DiBlasio’s office and Steve Herrick, Executive Director of Cooper Square.


Said Carl Siciliano, Founder and Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center:

“It meant the world to me that a star of the magnitude of Bea Arthur would do so much to help the Ali Forney Center in our work of housing homeless LGBT youths.” says Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center. “I am very grateful that we will now be able to honor Bea and continue to keep her compassion alive through the establishment of the Bea Arthur Residence for Homeless LGBT Youth.”

In an article prior to her passing, Bea Arthur said this:

“I’m very, very involved in charities involving youth. These kids at the Ali Forney Center are literally dumped by their families because of the fact that they are lesbian, gay or transgender — this organization really is saving lives.”


LGBT DIY Music Event May 9th

There is a  LGBT DIY music event that is collecting for the
True Colors Fund on May 9th at a new space in Chelsea called Nola, Darling.

$8, $5 goes towards True Colors Fund, All Ages.

@ Nola, Darling. Doors: 7PM / Show: 7:30PM
Support Queer and Queer allied artists!
A Homoground Co-curated event.
A dingus sponsored event.
We will be collecting for the True Colors Fund, so bring your generosity and humanity.
Penguin 8:30

Funding Doubles for Homeless Youth in NY

New York State Budget Doubles Funding for Homeless Youth;

Maintains Funding for LGBT Health and Human Services Network 


The New York State Legislature Increases Funding for Runaway and Homeless Youth to $4.48M and   Maintains Funding for the LGBT Health and Human Services Network at $4.97M

The Empire State Pride Agenda, New York’s statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today celebrates the New York State Legislature’s passage of the 2015 State Budget, which nearly doubles the amount of funding for Runaway and Homeless Youth (“RHY”) to $4.48 million. The increase in funding is welcome news to the thousands of young people – 40% of whom identify as LGBT – who are forced to sleep on the streets each night and will help to create up to 1,000 new dedicated youth shelter beds across the state.


The increase in funding for homeless youth shelters is the result of a successful campaign launched by a coalition of partners, including the Pride Agenda, the Coalition for Homeless Youth, the Ali Forney Center, and Covenant House, under the leadership of New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, Senator Tony Avella and Assembly Members Linda Rosenthal and Andrew Hevesi.  Even singer Miley Cyrus weighed in by sending a letter to New York State leaders. Since 2008, state funding for homeless youth shelters and services has been cut by $4 million. At the same time, the number of instances of kids being turned away from youth shelters each year due to a lack of beds has increased from 570 to more than 5,000, according to state data. While more is still needed to address this growing crisis, this year’s increase will provide much needed relief to hundreds of New York’s most vulnerable kids.

In addition, the New York State Legislature maintained funding for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Health Initiative through the AIDS Institute at the NYS Department of Health at $4.97 million. One major project of the LGBT Health Initiative is the New York State LGBT Health and Human Services Network (The Network). The Network is a coalition of 53 LGBT-specific and LGBT-supportive nonprofit organizations that provide programming and services to nearly 1.5 million LGBT New Yorkers and our families. Founded in 1994 and administered by the Pride Agenda Foundation, the Network consists of organizations like AIDS Care in Rochester, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in Manhattan and Long Island’s Pride for Youth, providing services that address the continuum of needs facing our communities.  Though more funding is still needed, the funding allocated by the state helps sustain the critical services provided by Network organizations in all 62 counties across New York State.

“We’re grateful to Senator Hoylman, Senator Tony Avella, Assembly Member Rosenthal and Assembly Member Hevesi for leading the efforts in the legislature to make our kids a priority in this year’s budget.  We also commend Governor Cuomo Speaker Heastie, and Senate Leaders Skelos and Klein for defending the funding increase during budget negotiations,” said Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Nathan M. Schaefer. “This is the first appreciable increase in funding for runaway and homeless youth since 2008 and represents years of advocacy.  As a result, fewer kids will be forced to fend for themselves on New York’s streets or to resort to survival sex just to find a warm place to sleep at night.”


Now that the budget has passed, the Pride Agenda looks forward to working with the legislature to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which would extend civil rights protections to transgender New Yorkers, and the bill to protect LGBT youth from conversion therapy.


About the Empire State Pride Agenda
Founded in 1990, the Empire State Pride Agenda is New York’s statewide civil rights and advocacy group committed to achieving full equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) New Yorkers and our families. The Pride Agenda fights for these priorities by: educating policymakers, elected officials and the public; building coalitions and mobilizing allies; lobbying government officials; administering a Political Action Committee; and organizing and empowering the LGBT community.


Men of Matinee NYC and Boxers Bar

This year, Matinee NYC announces  the launch of  their sexy 2015 charity calendar, featuring the Men of Matinee and Boxers Bar, shot by celeb photographer Marco Ovando.

100% of the proceeds will directly help provide homeless LGBT youth with the support and nourishment they need to succeed and thrive in NYC.

Grab your copy at any of the 3 Boxers Bar locations (Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Philadelphia) for a minimum donation of $20, and receive a free Stoli cocktail.

With your help, we can reach our fundraising goal of $50,000!

MEET THE  MEN!   Thursday  Jan 8th – Boxers Chelsea

                                       Friday   Jan  9th   – Boxers   Hells  Kitchen

All proceeds  benefit  Ali Forney center


New Yorks Ali Forney Center sends Plea to Pope Francis

A  full-page ad in the weekends New York Times made a plea to Pope Francis on behalf of homeless LGBT youth. The letter to the Pope is written by Carl Siciliano, the executive director of the Ali Forney Center, NYC’s largest shelter for homeless LGBT youth….

See the full page  ad here


HEDWIG donates to LGBT Youth

The Producers of Hedwig and the Angry Inch have just announced they will form a charitable partnership with the NYC LGBT youth organization Hetrick-Martin Institute as part of the Broadway show’s run.

The Advocate reports:

The musical will donate a portion from each ticket sale to Hetrick-Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk High School, a New York City public transfer school where at-risk youth can learn without fear of physical or emotional attacks. According to a press release, the partnership ”will also utilize the resources of the production, including representatives from the show meeting with young people in an educational and mentoring capacity, and additional fundraising support.”

“Hetrick-Martin Institute has always been a part of Hedwig‘s DNA and I’m thrilled HMI is able to join Hedwig on her journey to Broadway,” writes producer David Binder in a statement. “Our cast, creative team, and my fellow producers have been overwhelming in their support of this initiative benefiting this inspiring and incredibly important organization.”


Hedwig and the Angry Inch, starring Neil Patrick Harris, begins preview performances this Saturday and opens April 22 at the Belasco Theatre. To find out more information about the show’s partnership with HMI and to purchase tickets HERE.


My Gay Roommate Moves to New York

My Gay Roommate (MGR)  is a rather new comedy web series (about 18 months old) that explores the relationship between two college roommates – one who is very gay, and one who is straight. It follows their experiences, altercations, and the slightly absurd situations they find themselves in as first time college students — everything from losing their virginities to cleanliness and everything in between.  Season 1 was released in November 2012.

Season 3 has just started and episode one finds Nick in New York, looking for a new roommate.

MGR is about us. We (Austin Bening and Noam Ash) were roommates all four years of college. After we graduated we moved to New York, and the show came with us, ” explains co-creater Noam Ash.  “We built a new team – we have a new writer on board, Samuel Korda, and a new cast and crew. Things have been going swimmingly, it’s been a ton of fun – lots of funny, sexy and interesting twists coming this season!”

Noam told us, “I am a full time actor, singer and writer.  I’m auditioning, performing, filming and writing. Earlier this year I starred in the world premier of “Chemistry”, a two-person play by Jacob Marx Rice directed by Joshua W. Kelley.”

“We have been overwhelmed by the response  MGR  has gotten.  At the one year mark we reached our first 1,000,000 hits, and at the current pace we will hit 2,000,000 at our one and a half year anniversary. So we’re having steady and substantial growth, which is awesome. Our subscriber base is constantly growing with new people discovering the show every day.  It’s pretty awesome!”

What’s next is Season 3?  And the road ahead in New York?

“Who knows!” says Noam. ” I’m auditioning, performing… Anything could happen! There are still plenty of #MGRs to be written and filmed.  One dream would be to have the show picked up by a network and developed for television. That would be pretty fucking cool. I would also LOVE LOVE LOVE to do a sitcom and a Broadway show.  Hopefully more than one of each :).  And before I die I WILL sing a duet with Idina Menzel.  🙂 “

and he added, “stay tuned, you won’t be disappointed!”







WIG NIGHT OUT comes to New York for POINT Foundation Benefit


Hold onto your wigs,
kids! The Supreme Wig Council invites you to wear your most outlandish
wig and come over to the Stonewall Inn for the inaugural Wig Night Out
New York to benefit Point Foundation.

What began three years
ago in Washington, DC as a small group of friends donning wigs and
donating to charity has blossomed into an innovative and quirky, annual
event. Now we’re taking the fun on the road and coming to New York on
June 15.

Wig Night Out promises regular Joes in street clothes and outlandish wigs, all in an effort to raise money for scholarships for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth.

The suggested donation is $10 and includes a complimentary cocktail.
100% of the proceeds benefit Point Foundation, the nation’s largest
scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students of merit. Point
promotes change through education, mentorship, leadership development
and community service training, and provides its scholars with the
financial ability to attend the nation’s foremost higher educational

Out of town? Wig in the shop? Out of Aquanet? No worries–you can still support WNO and Point Foundation. Just visit

Since 2011, Wig Night Out has raised nearly $20,000 for Point
Foundation, and we are thrilled to bring this fun event to New York! So
start pouring through that fabulous wig collection you’ve been
amassing, grab your checkbook, bring your pride, and meet us at the
Stonewall Inn on June 15! It’s going to be wigtastic!

For more information, visit us at


Gay Couple to Film Movie about Abandoned Baby on the Subway

Imagine seeing an abandoned baby laying in a subway station?!

The New York Times
warmed hearts around the web  last Thursday, when it published the
first-person account of a gay couple who found a day-old infant in a
subway station, took the baby home, and ended up adopting and raising
the boy. 

Screenwriter Peter Mercurio opens his story, FOUND,  with a scene
from  his wedding to his husband Danny, a social worker, last July,
noting that their son, Kevin, was proudly standing beside his dads as
they tied the knot. But the story began 12 years earlier, writes

Danny Stewart found the baby boy in a New York City subway station in
August 2000, according to The New York Times. He has described how he
found what he believed to be a doll abandoned on a stairway in a subway
station. However, upon closer inspection he realized it was a living
breathing baby boy.

“Danny called me that day, frantic,” recounts Mercurio.
“‘I found a baby!’ he shouted. ‘I called 911, but I don’t think they
believed me. No one’s coming. I don’t want to leave the baby alone. Get
down here and flag down a police car or something.’ By nature Danny is a
remarkably calm person, so when I felt his heart pounding through the
phone line, I knew I had to run.”

“When I got to the A/C/E subway exit on Eighth Avenue,
Danny was still there, waiting for help to arrive. The baby, who had
been left on the ground in a corner behind the turnstiles, was
light-brown skinned and quiet, probably about a day old, wrapped in an
oversize black sweatshirt.

Later that year, the future of the baby was being discussed in court,
and Stewart was asked to appear to testify about the circumstances of
finding the baby.

However, as proceedings continued the judge suddenly asked, “Would you be interested in adopting this baby?”

though Stewart was put on the spot and had not asked his partner, he
replied in the affirmative to the judge. Later he would tell Mercurio
about what he had agreed to, and his partner was initially furious about
not being consulted about such a decision.

However, the couple
soon realized that this could be their only chance to adopt a baby
together, and they agreed to push forward to adopt the baby boy.

an amazing twist, the couple was authorized and given custody of the
child with just 36 hours notice, and they were living together before Christmas that year.

couple renamed the boy Kevin – he was initially named “Baby ACE” as he
was found at a subway station connecting the A, C and E lines.

Twelve years later, in 2011, the couple decided to participate in a wedding ceremony after gay marriage
was legalized in New York state. The couple contacted the judge who had
granted them custody of Kevin more than a decade before, asking her to
officiate their wedding – to which she immediately agreed.

Mercurio, a playwright, is now turning their story into a new film called “Found.”

Read More at Advocate and Christian Post


Live Out Loud Kinky Boots and Harvey Fierstein March 20

 MARCH 20th!

Join LIVE OUT LOUD for an exhilarating night at the theater benefiting Live Out Loud’s educational programs for LGBTQ youth!

Kinky Boots is an uplifting show featuring music by Cyndi Lauper, book by Harvey Fierstein, and choreography by Jerry Mitchell

Writer Harvey Fierstein and Kinky Boots actors will participate in a talkback after the show!

from these premium tickets will benefit Live Out Loud’s educational
programs that connect LGBTQ youth with LGBT role models.


Tickets are limited and will sell out soon! Click here to buy your tickets now!


Price: $150
Seating: Orchestra
Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Time: 8:00 PM

Location: The Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 West 45th Street, New York, NY


New Yorks Gay Youth Center Gets Grant



The Ali Forney Center (AFC) – the nation’s largest services and advocacy organization working on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) runaway and homeless youth – is excited to announce that it has received a grant from the Roger I. and Ruth B. MacFarlane Foundation. 

The grant will go to fund a new Host Home Program, modeled after programs successfully
implemented in other cities including Minneapolis and Chicago. In the program, adults will open their homes for up to one year to a limited number of the AFC’s youth, offering young people a chance to live day-to-day as part of a stable, LGBTQ-supportive household. Given a severe shortage of shelter beds in New York, the program has the potential to make a significant impact.

The AFC has been researching a Host Home Program for over two years,
visiting other organizations that have implemented such programs –
including Minneapolis’ Avenues for Youth and Chicago’s uCan – to learn
from their experiences and prepare to implement a counterpart in NYC.
The pilot version of the program will introduce one full-time Host Home
Coordinator who will lead implementation and community development. The
program offers NYC residents the opportunity to open their homes and
host a homeless LGBTQ youth for a period of up to one year. Both Host
Home Providers and youth will be supported through the program, which
will include training, counseling, and targeted goals. The AFC is
looking to explore partnerships with community organizations, including
the Brooklyn Community Pride Center and the LGBT Community Center in
Manhattan. Individuals will be screened to ensure they meet the
program’s eligibility criteria. Similarly, AFC’s care team will screen
and offer specialized support to youth who enroll in the program, as
participation is entirely voluntary.

Said Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center: “With such
a terrible dearth of shelter beds available for the estimated 1800
homeless LGBT youth on the streets of New York each night, every bed is
of vital importance. I am incredibly grateful to the MacFarlane
Foundation for their generosity, which will allow loving adults to open
their homes to our youth, many of whom lack any kind of family support.”

Said Jessica MacFarlane of the MacFarlane Foundation: “The MacFarlane
Foundation is thrilled to contribute to the Ali Forney Center’s Host
Home Program. The Ali Forney Center is a leader in serving homeless
LGBTQ youth, and they set a standard for other organizations to aspire
to. This program will bridge the gap between the current housing offered
by the Ali Forney Center and young clients’ living independently. The
Foundation feels strongly about the importance of supporting the LGBTQ
community and is pleased to support the Ali Forney Center.”

The MacFarlane Foundation has issued its grant in order to help AFC pilot
the Host Home Program to determine the program’s viability. The pilot
will also allow AFC the opportunity to secure greater funding for the
continuation of the program. This is the second new program AFC will be
introducing in 2013. In the coming months AFC will expand the operation
of its Drop-In Center in Harlem to offer 24/7 programming, the first of
its kind in the nation for homeless LGBTQ youth.  

About the Ali Forney Center

The Ali Forney Center (AFC) was started in June of 2002 in response to the
lack of safe shelter for LGBT youth in New York City. The Center is
committed to providing these young people with safe, dignified,
nurturing environments where their needs can be met, and where they can
begin to put their lives back together. AFC is dedicated to promoting
awareness of the plight of homeless LGBT youth in the United States with
the goal of generating responses on local and national levels from
government funders, foundations, and the LGBT community. For more
information, see

About the Roger I. and Ruth B. MacFarlane Foundation

The Roger I. and Ruth B. MacFarlane Foundation makes catalytic
contributions to organizations, by enhancing the impact of existing
endeavors and leveraging organizations’ capacities to expand their
reach. The Foundation aims to improve the opportunities of individuals,
build strength within communities, and effect lasting change. The
MacFarlane Foundation is a family foundation whose funding reflects the
individual interests and passions of its Trustees.


Brooklyn Dad Starts Alternative Scouts Troop

 YEA for  Brooklyn dad Todd Schweikert!

The Boy Scouts is an antiquated sinking ship losing funding left and right! So Todd wanted to look for an alternative. 
  DNA Info reports:

Schweikert, a 33-year-old Windsor Terrace
resident whose son goes to P.S. 154, researched several alternative
scouting options, including groups like Camp Fire. He settled on the
Baden-Powell Service Association to be the parent organization of his
troop. Like other traditional scouting groups, BPSA teaches “woodcraft,”
or how to survive outdoors. BPSA troops also use what’s called the
“patrol method” to divide scouts into teams that each have a leader
nominated by other scouts.

BPSA troops are open to both boys and
girls, and unlike the Boy Scouts of America, there is less talk of God
and religion
in official scouting laws, Schweikert said. The troop
welcomes kids as young as 5 years old, who are known as Otters. At age
8, scouts graduate to Timberwolves.

His 7-year-old son is a charter member of the 5th Brooklyn Scouts,
which accepts boys, girls and all sexual orientations while believing
that prejudice is best snuffed out like an untended campfire.

“The tipping point was the BSA’s approach to gay scouts and the gay
and lesbian parents,” Schweikert wrote in an email to The Huffington
Post. “Any form of discrimination, no matter how small, is never ok and
not something I can endorse and wish to teach to my children.

Schweikert told HuffPost that he has received a “great response from gay and lesbian parents, as well as straight.”

Schweikert’s troop, to be called the
Fifth Brooklyn Scouts, will meet weekly at the Brooklyn Society for
Ethical Culture on Prospect Park West. The location is well-positioned
for excursions to Prospect Park for “nature observation,” but scouts
will also embark on overnight camping trips and weekend hikes. The troop
will learn classic scouting skills like knot-tying and community
service projects, and they’ll earn badges after they accomplish specific


Ali Forney Center Fundraiser Sunday Nov 11 for New Yorks LGBTQ Youth

The Ali Forney Center (AFC) – the nation’s largest services and advocacy organization working on behalf of runaway and homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth – had its drop-in center destroyed by the Hudson River storm surge following Hurricane Sandy. 
 The center served as the entry point for a number of AFC services, including medical care, HIV testing, mental health services, housing referrals, and more. 
In order to raise money for the AFC in this time of crisis, Industry Bar, located at 355 West 52nd Street in Manhattan, will host a fundraising event from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 11, 2012. 
The event’s hosts will include actress Ally Sheedy and celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz. The event is co-chaired by AFC board member and New York City Council candidate Corey Johnson, and AFC volunteer and OASIS co-chair Michael Green
Tickets are available for purchase at the door for $20, and 100 percent of the event proceeds from ticket sales, bar service and raffle items will go to the AFC. 
 A matching donation of up to $50,000 will be generously made on behalf of AFC Board Member Bill Shea and his husband, Frank Selvaggi. Said Shea and Selvaggi:
“Sandy upended the lives of many New Yorkers, but not nearly as much as the youth of the Ali Forney Center, who now have nowhere to turn for basic services such as shelter and food. 
We are proud to help our community come together in support of its most vulnerable youth.”
The evening will include entertainment provided by DJ Vito Fun, and cabaret shows from Marti Gould Cummings, Joseph Keckler and Brett Gleason. Raffle items for the event will be announced that evening.
Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of AFC, said: “I am enormously grateful for the immense outpouring of support we have seen for the AFC over the past several days – not just here in New York, but from all over the country. Our youth, who in many cases have been cruelly rejected by their own families for being LGBTQ, need our help now more than ever, and we hope that this event will allow the day when we can restore these vital services to come sooner rather than later.” 
 The AFC Drop-In Center was a 1,000 square foot space located on West 22st Street, providing a safe space to at-risk and homeless LGBTQ teens and young adults. The Center was a primary point of care for food, shelter, and water – providing as many as 10,000 meals a year —and also served as AFC’s Health and Mental Health Clinic, offering critical medical care (including counseling, treatment, healthcare management, psychological care, and STD/HIV testing). 
The Center also offered career and educational counseling services for young people, helping them to reclaim their lives and live independently.
While the AFC plans to open the first-ever 24-hour drop-in center for homeless LGBTQ youth in an alternate location, it will not be open for several months. In the meantime, New York’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center has generously offered AFC some of their space to provide temporary Drop-In Services. 
 To learn more about AFC, or to make a contribution, please visit

Broadway Sings for Pride…and Anti-Bullying May 6th

TADA! YOUTH THEATER is pleased to present, (in conjunction with the now playing world premiere musical UP TO YOU), IT’S UP TO YOU, a open forum event on Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 11am to discuss bullying through leadership, moderated by Miss New York Kaitlin Monte, featuring an special opening number from BROADWAY SINGS FOR PRIDE (
The event is free and parents and kids are especially encouraged to
attend. Miss New York Kaitlin Monte has spent the year engaging
discussion in schools and working with State Senator Klein to create
legislative reform. Reservations can be made at

BROADWAY SINGS FOR PRIDE cast members slated to sing in the opening number will include: Ken Alston Jr. (Off Broadway’s Three Mo’ Tenors), JR Bruno (West Side Story, Book of Mormon National Tour), Michael Cusumano (Chicago), Lauren Elder (Hair Revival), John Edwards (Jersey Boys), Russell Fischer (Jersey Boys), Tony Gonzalez (Mamma Mia), Amy Hamlin (Radio City Christmas Spectacular), Michele Mais (Rock of Ages), Anthony Lee Medina (Spring Awakening National Tour, The Public’s The Capeman in the Park), Fred Ross (* Need credit), LaQuet Sharnell (Lysistrata Jones), Allison Siko (Kathleen Stabler on NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”), Courter Simmons (Jersey Boys), MJ Rodriguez (Off Broadway’s Rent Revival). Broadway vocal coach Michael Lavine will serve as musical director. This portion is being produced by (

Shortly following the forum will be 2pm performance of TADA! Youth Theater’s World Premiere of UP TO YOU, with book and music by Eric Rockwell, lyrics by Joanne Bogart and directed by Janine Nina Trevens. Like all TADA! musicals, UP TO YOU
is a professionally produced off-Broadway musical performed for kids,
by kids; and dealing with topics relevant to kids and their experiences. UP TO YOU
takes place in 1977 during elections for the student council at
Hamilton High. It examines several relevant issues facing young people
today including – peer acceptance, verbal bullying, stereotyping based
on activities you take part in, and wanting to be popular. Through the
course of the musical the narrator, Eric, is bullied because of rumors
about his sexuality and because he won’t go along with the “in” crowd.
The story, loosely based on some of Mr. Rockwell’s own high school
experiences, emphasizes the idea that each individual can make a
difference for themselves and the community at large in a fun,
entertaining, age-appropriate and approachable way.

UP TO YOU plays the following schedule through Sunday, May 20:

Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm & 4pm
Added performance on Friday May 18 at 7pm. There is no performance on Sunday May 13.

Tickets for UP TO YOU are
only $15 for adults and $8 for children; Premium tickets (also
available for every performance) are $25 for adults and $15 for children
and feature priority seating and support TADA!’s programming. Tickets
are now available online at
Tickets may also be purchased in-person one hour prior to performance.
Non-Profit Group rates start at $6 per child for groups of 20+;
birthday party packages are also available. UP TO YOU is recommended for ages 5 and over.

Running Time: approximately 60 minutes



New Yorks LGBT Homeless Need Help Now

The Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest organization working on behalf of homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth, today released a compelling new video viewable online in support of the Campaign for Youth Shelter.  The video, outlining the stark facts of the plight of LGBT homeless youth in New York, was released to promote an October 24 rally in Union Square, at which New York’s LGBT community will demand shelter for all youth in the city.  

Watch  video

Among the key points featured in the video:

In New York, an LGBT youth is eight times more likely to experience homelessness than a straight youth.

LGBT youth who are homeless face a significantly higher risk of HIV infection, suicide, and physical and sexual assault than their homeless straight counterparts.

40 percent of all homeless youth in NYC are LGBT, according to a 2008 census conducted by the Empire State Coalition.

Despite the scope of the problem, in 2011, both Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo have proposed drastic cuts to services for homeless youth.

Said Carl Siciliano, founder and Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center: “We hope that this video will promote awareness of the terrible peril that LGBT youth face when left homeless in the streets. With the recent spectacle of elected officials taking budgetary actions to endanger and abandon homeless youth in New York City, we hope the rally on October 24th will send a loud and clear message that the LGBT community demands that they be protected. No youth should be left in the streets without shelter.”

The October 24 rally will be held in Union Square, beginning at 6 PM.   It is in support of the Campaign for Youth Shelter, and is being planned by representatives from the Ali Forney Center, the Bronx Community Pride Center, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, Green Chimneys NYC, the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, and Queer Rising.

Information on the rally and the Campaign for Youth Shelter online.

The Ali Forney Center (AFC) was started in June of 2002 in response to the lack of safe shelter for LGBT youth in New York City. The Center is committed to providing these young people with safe, dignified, nurturing environments where their needs can be met, and where they can begin to put their lives back together. AFC is dedicated to promoting awareness of the plight of homeless LGBT youth in the United States with the goal of generating responses on local and national levels from government funders, foundations, and the LGBT community.


PBS to show Stonewall Uprising April 25th


I talked with two people recently under the age of 25, who had no clue!

When police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City on June 28, 1969, the street erupted into violent protests that lasted for the next six days. The Stonewall riots, as they came to be known, marked a major turning point in the modern gay civil rights movement in the United States and around the world.

DID YOU KNOW?   In the late 1960s, the American Psychiatric Association still classified homosexuality as a mental disorder, and gay men and lesbian women received almost universal moral condemnation from mainstream religions. The act of homosexual sex, even in private homes, was punishable by a light fine, 20 years in prison, or even a life sentence!!

New York City had the largest gay population in the United States. It was also the city that most aggressively upheld anti-sodomy laws. In the mid-1960s New York created police vice squads to raid gay bars and baths, and began using decoys to solicit and entrap gays. By 1966 over 100 men a week were arrested as a result of this effort. “It was a nightmare for the lesbian or gay man who was arrested and caught up in the juggernaut but it was also a nightmare for the lesbians or gay men who lived in the closet,” Yale Law School professor William Eskridge says in the film. “This produced an enormous amount of anger within the lesbian and gay community in New York City. Eventually something was bound to blow.”

STONEWALL UPRISING is a very important film we should all see!  PBS and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is airing it on Monday, April 25th!  Check your local listings!  GET A SNEAK  PEAK  ONLINE.

Coming soon to DVD!


Mayor Bloomberg SLASHES Support for Homeless Youth…Then Says “It Gets Better” to the Youths!

Two days after slashing support to homeless youth programs in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has the gall to release a video telling LGBT youth that ‘It Gets Better.’

Bloomberg recorded  an “It Gets Better” video  yesterday, in which he urged bullied gay youth to come to New York City where they would be accepted. Ok, so you are cutting support – yet encouraging youths to come to New York City….WTF?!

Bloomberg says in the video: “Right now there may be some of you out there who feel that there’s no hope, or that you’re not wanted. Well I have a message for you. New York City wants you. New York has always been the place where anyone can go, and be who they’re supposed to be, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual identity. We need you.”

This whole It Gets Better movement is becoming kind of silly. Even President Obama  has said “It Gets Better”. Really Barack?

Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center, which provides shelter and services for homeless LGBT youth, said “Mayor Bloomberg, your cruel and reckless cuts to the meager support system for homeless LGBT youth in New York City just made things for them much worse! On January 1st,  Bloomberg cut support for outreach to homeless youth in half, cut most drop-in centers for homeless youth by a third, and cut support for the two LGBT homeless youth drop-in programs in half. In New York City there are over 1,000 LGBT youth suffering on the streets every night without access to safe shelter. The drop-in centers and outreach are their only support. Homeless LGBT youth are at incredible risk of suicide with 62% reporting that they have considered or attempted suicide.

The LGBT community needs to recognize these cuts as an attack against our most vulnerable youth, and against us as a whole. We pay just as much taxes as anyone, and there are far too few City-funded programs that support our most vulnerable youth.  If we can be treated like this in a city with as strong an community as NYC, how will our youth ever get their fair share of the resources they need and deserve? I cannot speak strongly enough about what a horror it is to have LGBT youth who have been discarded by homophobic parents flock to us for help, and to have to counsel them to sleep in the subways because there are not nearly enough beds for them.”

Best of Gay New