Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Nathan Schaefer made the announcement in an email to supporters after “unanimous votes” from his organization’s board of directors.
Schaefer said the decision “comes on the heels of securing our top remaining priority;” which were the new statewide regulations banning discrimination based on gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations that Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in October during the Empire State Pride Agenda’s Fall Dinner in Manhattan. Schaefer also said his organization’s political action committee will remain active “in order to play a continuing role in electoral politics.”
“After 25 years of groundbreaking advocacy and service to New York’s LGBT community, the Empire State Pride Agenda will conclude major operations in 2016,” he wrote. “In the coming months, the Pride Agenda will identify aspects of its policy work to transition to partner LGBT organizations.”
Advocates and politicians across New York expressed shock over the surprise announcement.
“There’s a lot more work to be done on LGBT rights in New York, so declaring ‘Mission Accomplished’ seems premature,” gay state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) told the New York Times, noting the New York State Senate has not passed an LGBT-specific bill since same-sex couples received marriage rights in the Empire State in 2011. “I hope a new political group picks up the mantle.”
The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which would codify anti-trans discrimination protections in law, has languished in the state Senate for more than a decade. The chamber adjourned in June without voting on GENDA or a second bill that would ban “conversion therapy” to minors in the state.