Lambda Line: August 2005

LID Backs Weiner for Mayor, Siegel for Advocate, but Still Deadlocked on D.A.

After three endorsement meetings in the space of two and a half months, LID has made our Primary Day picks for this year’s municipal elections. Details of our first endorsement meeting, held on May 25th, were in our June 2005 Lambda Line. That issue, as well as a complete list of our 2005 endorsed candidates, can be found at

On June 6th, after a spirited debate, LID endorsed Congressman Anthony Weiner for Mayor. While all the Democratic contenders attended the meeting to appeal for the Brooklyn LGBT community’s support, LID Board members Scott Klein, Kay Mackey and Sandra Lara were among a core group of Weiner supporters who ultimately persuaded the club to back their candidate. Explained Klein, “Anthony stood out as someone who is courageous on LGBT issues as well as the only candidate who can defeat the incumbent Republican mayor.”

In other endorsements that night, LID backed Norman Siegel for Public Advocate; David Galarza for City Council in the 38th district; and incumbent City Councilmembers Diana Reyna in the 34th, Letitia James in the 35th, Yvette Clarke in the 40th, and Lewis Fidler in the 46th. In judicial races LID endorsed Michael Gerstein for Civil Court in the 6th district and LID’s own Norma Jean Jennings for Civil Court Countywide. Democratic District Leader and past LID President Alan Fleishman said, “LID is proud to support Norma, an LID member whose outstanding qualifications and background will make her a fine addition to Brooklyn’s judiciary.” A Columbia University law school graduate, Norma is currently an attorney working in Civil Court.

LID reconvened on August 3rd to consider candidates for Brooklyn Surrogate Court and revisit the hotly contested Brooklyn District Attorney’s race, in which the club could not reach an endorsement back in May. Again LID was unable to produce a majority for any candidate in the D.A.’s race, but we did solidly back Judge Margarita Lopez Torres for Brooklyn Surrogate.

With our endorsement meetings behind us, LID is committed to educating our community about and getting out
the vote for our endorsed candidates on September 13th.

Summer Soirée Sizzles

On July 27th, LID hosted our first-ever Greenpoint social/outreach event. Despite the midsummer heat, more than 60 people gathered in the garden of former LID president David Shanton and his partner Randy Sandlin. Guests included newcomers from Williamsburg and Greenpoint, many LID members and numerous elected officials and candidates, including Councilmember David Yassky (33rd District), Assemblymember Joseph Lentol (50th District), District Leaders Lori Knipel (44th District) and Alan Fleishman (52nd District), D.A. candidates Mark Peters and State Senator John Sampson, Judges Margarita Lopez-Torres and Larry Knipel, and two of LID’s own, Civil Court Judge Debra Silber and Civil Court candidate Norma Jennings (with partner Juliet Howard and sons Jordan and Nicholas). Many thanks to Randy and David for opening their home, being fantastic hosts, and making wild berry cosmopolitans and peach salsa that were out of this world.

New Leaders on Board for LID

LID has not only increased our general membership this year but we have expanded our executive board as well. Five of this year’s newly elected board members posed for this picture with LID President Gary Parker (second from right) at our Summer Soirée. They are (from left to right) Sandra Lara, Terrance Knox, Jesse Alick, Kay Mackey and Dan Willson. Not pictured but also new to the board are Julie Bolcer and Lisa Badner. All seven are making signification contributions to the organization, and the combination of new board members and long-time veterans has made us an even more effective advocate for our community.

Another Step Toward Saving Rainbow Heights

You may recall from the last issue of Lambda Line that LID has been lobbying city and state officials to stave off the closure of downtown Brooklyn’s Rainbow Heights Club, New York state’s first and only government-funded, peer-based mental health organization specifically for the LGBT community. Rainbow Heights Club and 25 other mental health organizations had their funding cut earlier this year when Governor Pataki eliminated $3.15 million in the state budget for mental health services for New York City. As we reported in June, our lobbying, along with LID and Anthony Weiner marched together in the city’s Pride Parade. Norma Jennings and partner Juliet Howard that of the Empire State Pride Agenda and other advocates, helped get Mayor Bloomberg to restore the club’s funding through the end of 2005. Nonetheless, the agency’s long-term prospects remain uncertain. LID Vice President Christopher Murray was pleased to get a call in late July from Councilmember Bill de Blasio (39th District), notifying us that he had secured $5,000 for Rainbow Heights Club in the fiscal year 2006 budget. He credited LID’s lobbying in part for the allocation. While this is a fraction of the agency’s $200,000+ budget, every bit counts in the effort to save this critical organization. LID will continue to lobby and advocate until Rainbow Heights Club is completely funded for 2006 and beyond.

Gary and Christopher’s Community Chronicles

LID VP Christopher Murray and President Gary Parker have been recording and sharing their perspectives on Brooklyn LGBT affairs through a series of op-ed articles that have appeared in Brooklyn’s Courier-Life publications this spring and summer. The prolific pair has covered such issues as the growing integration of LGBT people throughout the borough, the rise in hate crimes against LGBT people and particularly LGBT men of color, and the need to restore funding for Rainbow Heights Club. While the response has been largely positive, one Courier-Life reader wrote in to say, “This entire gay/lesbian situation has grown completely out of hand.” Rest assured that LID will continue the fight to ensure LGBT power and influence in Brooklyn only escalate. Gary and Hillary Talk LGBT Social Services

As the picture on the left shows, our ubiquitous President Gary Parker

buttonholed New York’s junior senator, Hillary Clinton, at a June 24th fundraiser thrown for her by the Health, Housing and Human Services Committee for Hillary. While more than 200 other advocates clamored for an opportunity to speak to her, Gary engaged the senator in a conversation about the need for social services programming for LGBT families and encouraged her to reconsider her position on same-sex marriage.

Kudos to the United Church of Christ

On July 4th, the United Church of Christ, which includes 1.3 million members, became the largest Christian denomination in the U.S. to endorse same-sex marriage. Nearly 80 percent of delegates at the church’s biennial General Synod voted to approve a resolution in support of equal marriage rights for all people, regardless of gender. In the wake of that vote, LID issued the following statement: “Lambda Independent Democrats, Brooklyn’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender political club and the borough’s oldest LGBT organization, commends the United Church of Christ’s vote on July 4th approving a resolution in support of gay marriage. ‘What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than for a major denomination to publicly proclaim its support for fair and equal treatment of gay families,’ said LID’s President Gary Parker, MSW. LID thanks the General Synod for their courageous move in these times when both patriotism and faith are being used as a pretext for discrimination and hatred. UCC has our thanks and admiration for this historic move.”


Saturdays, year-round, 4-5pm

Dyke TV airs weekly on Channel 56 in Brooklyn. Episodes feature current news and events, political commentary, arts, health, sports and other issues of interest to lesbians in the U.S. and beyond. For more info visit
Saturday, Aug. 20, 3-5pm, Sign-in from 3-3:30pm

Walk-In Legal Clinic, presented by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Law Association of Greater New York at the offices of Dyke TV, 71 5th Ave (Prospect Pl. and St. Marks Pl.), Park Slope. For more information call 212-533-9118.
Sunday, Aug. 28, 6pm-midnight

Launch party for the Rashawn Brazell Memorial Scholarship to support the college education of a NYC student committed to the fight against racism, sexism and homophobia, at Luke and Leroy, 21 Seventh Ave. So. (near Leroy St.) in Manhattan. Admission $10. For more information email
Saturday, Sept. 3, 3-5pm, Sign-in from 3-3:30pm

Walk-In Legal Clinic, presented by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Law Association of Greater New York at Park Slope Geriatric Day Center, 1 Prospect Park West (enter on President Street under green awning), Park Slope. For more information call 212-533-9118.
Saturday, Sept. 10, 10am-4:30pm

Brooklyn Arts Exchange Open House. Sample free dance & theater classes, meet the BAX faculty & staff and enjoy refreshments, 421 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope. For more information call 718-832-0018.
Tuesday, Sept. 13, Polls open 6am-9pm

Democratic Primary. To find out where you vote call 212-NYC-VOTE. For a list of LID’s endorsed candidates visit
Sunday, Sept. 25, 10am-6pm

Table with LID at the 31st annual Atlantic Antic street festival and bazaar on Atlantic Ave. between Hicks St. and Fourth Ave. in Downtown Brooklyn. To volunteer contact Kay Mackey at or 718-832-2219.

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