Tag Archives: New York

Explore NYC’s Queer History With This Fun, Interactive Map

Queer history comes to life in this interactive new map.

The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project has finally, after two long years of work, released a map that traces NYC’s queer history from the 17th century to the present.

The map covers more than 550 locations, from popular spots like Stonewall to obscure coordinates like the site that launched the US’ first hate-crime trial. The map allows users to filter out spots based on neighborhood, time period, type of space and cultural significance. Want to find a cruising spot from the 1950s? Done. Want to spot a lesbian activism hub from the 1890s? Got it.

Each spot on the map includes photos, a historical overview, in-depth history and even extra resources like journal articles and videos in case you’d like to learn more.

Although the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project has only been officially working on the project for the last 2 years, this map represents 20 years of work by historian Ken Lustbader, who began plotting out LGBT sites around the city in the 1990s. After securing funding, he teamed up with a professor and a historian from Columbia University to hunt for hidden pieces of LGBT history that no one else had noticed, like the home where bisexual poet Edna St. Vincent Milay lived for a year and a half in the 1920s.

Even more exciting is the fact that the team just got a $100,000 grant to keep building the project. They plan to create and embed podcasts, walking tours, original videos, multimedia ventures and other elements in order to continue to make the collection immersive.

Their work is so important because they are preserving the LGBT history that the world wants to overlook. Gay marriage only became legal in the US in 2015. For centuries before that, closeted people struggled for recognition, respect and their own lives – which they still do in many places around the US.

Start exploring the interactive map for yourself.

New York Cabby Ordered To Pay $14,000 To Lesbian Couple Who He Ordered To Stop Kissing

Mohammed Dahbi has been ordered by NYC Commission on Human Rights to pay $14,000 (£10,676) to a lesbian couple who he banned from kissing in the back of his car.

A cabby who claimed he had a “no-kissing policy” in his yellow taxi was hit with was ordered to pay $7,000 each to Christina Spitzer and Kassie Thornton following the incident in October 2011.


The couple claimed Dahbi had called them ‘c**ts, whores and bitches’ and that despite only giving each other a ‘peck’ in the back of the car, they were told to ‘keep that for the bedroom or get out of the cab’.

In his defence, Dahbi responded by claiming he had received verbal abuse during the incident and said the couple called him a ‘f**king Arab terrorist’ and a ‘radical Muslim asshole’.

The driver said the women were ‘all over’ each other, and were blocking his view through the car’s rear view mirror and were distracting him.

He admitted telling the couple to wait ’till you go home’ when he pulled over.

Spitzer claimed that when they took their luggage out of the car and said they would not pay for the fare, Dabhi called them ‘c**ts, whores, bitches’.

Based on emotional damages, the NYC Commission on Human Rights ordered Dabhi to pay the damages to the couple.

They said they based their ruling not on the fact that Dahbi pulled over, but because he told them to ‘stop that behaviour’.

The committee said:

That statement constitutes a ‘declaration…that the patronage of Complainants is ‘unwelcome, objectionable or not acceptable, desired or solicited.”

Dabhi was also ordered to work with the Community Relations Bureau at the Commission for 164 hours.

Cyndi Lauper Launches New Shoe Line, Which Will Benefits LGBT Youth

For many years Cyndi Lauper has been pivotal supporter of LGBT rights, becoming a fixture at gay pride events and raising money through charity work.

Now, she’s parlaying her unwavering belief in equality into something tangible with the launch of her shoe collection with M4D3 (Make a Difference Everyday), an organization dedicated to creating products with a purpose.


The three-piece line, priced between $65 and $75, includes a denim hi-top sneaker, a leopard print slip-on sneaker, and a men’s white hi-top sneaker.

Talking to InStyle, Lauper said

I’m the aunt and cousin or sister you can’t get rid of. Initially, I got involved because nobody else was getting involved. I wasn’t going to sit idly and watch my family members and dear friends have their civil rights stripped [Ed note: Lauper’s older sister, Ellen, is a lesbian and activist in the gay community]. Everyone was totally disenfranchised and was contemplating suicide. Something had to be done. You should never kill yourself because you’re different. There are a lot of great people who didn’t blend in who were different.”

She added

There has been some change, but I wish in my heart that those changes had come sooner for those who were forced to live through a harder time. Forty percent of the 1.6 million kids out there are homeless right now, and identify as LGBT. We have to educate people and their parents, too.”


Proceeds from sales benefit the True Colors Fund, her foundation which works to end homelessness among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth across the country. Below, we spoke to Lauper about the collaboration, ’80s fashion trends, and the cause closest to her heart.

We tried to make something that was interesting and fun to wear, that you could rock any way you want—whether you’re conservative or more outgoing.”
Shop the True Colors Collection now at shop.m4d3shoes.com and visit truecolorsfund.org to learn more about the cause.

‘Queer City’ Is a Hard-Hitting Documentary About LGBTQ Lives in New York

Perhaps only rivalled by the likes of San Francisco, with its world famous Castro Street, New York City has a reputation of being the most LGBT-friendly places in the world.

Not only was it the location of the Stonewall riots, an event which catapulted LGBTQ+ rights to the forefront and was also the basis for the pride parades we know today (it also inspired the divisive upcoming movie), but New York City was also the 6th state in the USA to legalise same-sex marriage.

These things are good, great even, and New York should be heralded for being more progressive than so many other cities around the world, but things aren’t perfect for every LGBTQ person who lives there.

Much less, those headlines about NYC being a bastion of hope and equality don’t actually tell us what it’s like for LGBTQ+ people to live there, something which can massively inform how a city can improve (with regards to its LGBTQ+ residents) in the future.

Taking up that mantel and covering as many points on the great life/hardships spectrum as it can is Queer City, a new documentary about New York City’s LGBTQ residents.

Unlike many documentaries covering queer folk, Queer City is wonderfully diverse and does a fine job at representing the many LGBT people who live there.

For example, there’s Tee, a working class butch Latino lesbian who lives in Queens. Tee has known she was a lesbian since she was young and she’s had several serious relationships, but some of these relationships have been abusive, she’s been involved with drugs and has also spent some in jail.

Queer City 03 Queer City 02


After losing her siblings and parents to illness (though her mother died from a “broken heart”, according to Tee) she now lives alone but is surrounded by good friends.

On the other hand Queer City shows viewers the life of Sarah and Kris, who are the parents of two children named Lia and Gabriel. By speaking to the two parents as well as their children, viewers learn what it’s like to have two mothers and the doc even discusses the benefits and downsides too it. Typically, these discussions are had from a clinical, rights and laws standpoint, so it’s nice to see an actual family deliver their take on it.

Queer City 01

And while much of the sexuality spectrum is covered (there is also a bisexual woman and gay porn director, as well as a gay man in his eighties), Queer City also covers ‘T’ with Eric, a transman who transitioned in Coney Island whilst living with his Haitian family. Initially Eric thought that he was a lesbian and although his mother did accept this, it was much more difficult for her to accept his gender.

The film’s makers do note that they can’t “represent every aspect of LGBTQ life” but that’s not their “goal” and instead they are “bringing together a selection of stories to offer a compelling portrait of new American lives”. Many critics agree that Queer City has done just that, so visit the film’s Twitter and Facebook for more info on where you can see it.


Former Homeless Teen Cyndi Lauper Goes to Washington to Help End LGBT Homelessness

Yesterday was True Colors Fund’s #40toNoneDay, “a national day to raise public awareness about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth homelessness, and to provide supporters with simple ways to get involved.”

It was also the day Cyndi Lauper – who started her True Colors Fund charity – testified before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, explaining in real life terms the tragedies and challenges homeless youth face, especially LGBT homeless youth.

She also revealed she was a homeless teen, a fact not known to many, and one that may explain her devotion to helping homeless youth.

Lauper said her iconic song, “True Colors,” which has been adopted by many as a theme and as an LGBT anthem, allowed her to speak with LGBT youths, many who were homeless.

Listening to these stories, it changed me. Maybe there’s something I can do besides just being a famous person and singing to them.”

That’s why she started her True Colors Fund, which “works to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, creating a world in which young people can be their true selves.”

Basically, the kids come out and they get thrown out. Truth is, they didn’t choose their identity. You know, it’s like you choosing the color of your eyes. You know, you’re born that way. If it’s a faith issue, I implore you not to pray to God to change your kid. Pray to God to change your heart.”

The hearing was led by the subcommittee’s Chair, GOP Senator Susan Collins of Maine.

Watch this video, please, share it, and use the hashtags #40toNoneDay and #Pizza4Equality, which is a fundraiser started by LGBT activist Scott Wooledge to help homeless kids and the True Colors Fund.

Cyndi Lauper Opens Housing for LGBT Youth in New York

Cyndi Lauper’s hit song ‘True Colors’ took on a new meaning when the True Colors Residence for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth opened its doors in Harlem.

The New York City’s street plays home to an increasing number homeless youth identify as LGBT, with reports indicating that these young people often face discrimination and at times physical assault.

The idea behind the 30-bed facility, was conceived by Lauper, her manager and the West End Intergenerational Residence, a non-profit that provides housing and support for homeless families and seniors.

The True Colors Residence will be the first permanent housing facility in New York for homeless LGBT+ youth.

“In New York City, a very disproportionate number (up to 40 percent) of homeless youth identify as LGBT+ Even more disturbing are reports that these young people often face discrimination and at times physical assault in some of the very places they have to for help. This is shocking and inexcusable!..

…I believe a strong society is an inclusive society. If we want to win big then we’d better include everybody because we need everybody,”

Cyndi Lauper

Lauper has long been an advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. In 2007, she created the True Colors Tour, in which she performed and talked about LGBT+ issues with Erasure, The B-52s, the Indigo Girls, Deborah Harry and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts.

Then in 2008, she founded the True Colors Fund, a non-profit for the advancement of LGBT+ equality.

The True Colors Residence was subsequently constructed. The new energy-efficient building contains 30 studio apartments for youth aged 18 to 24 to live in, and indoor and outdoor community space. Residents will pay rent based on their income and receive job placement help.

Lauper will be the honorary chair of the shelter’s board, and her manager, Lisa Barbaris, will be the board’s honorary vice chair.

“Our primary goal is to provide a physically and emotionally safe and supportive environment that will empower our young residents to be the self-loving, happy and successful individuals they were meant to be.”

Cyndi Lauper

Lauper wrote.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center has already started referring homeless and disconnected youth to the True Colors Residence.

“We have about 1,000 people a year come here. And at least 20 to 25 percent of those individuals face an issue of homelessness or are under-housed at some point in their adolescence.”

Carrie Davis, the director of community services at The Center.

Carl Siciliano, the founder and executive director of the Ali Forney Center, agreed that the new shelter was a much-needed facility.

“There are fewer than 200 beds for homeless youth in New York City, and fewer than ten beds for homeless LGBT+ youth. So every new bed aimed at this new population is really a matter of life and death that could get kids off the street.”

Carl Siciliano

Lauper’s new shelter is part of a slowly growing movement that’s calling attention to the plight of homeless LGBT+ youth in New York. In 2009, Mayor Bloomberg’s office created a 25-member Commission for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Runaway and Homeless Youth. The director of the commission is Jeanne B. Mullgrav, the commissioner of the Department of Youth and Community Development.

“We are ecstatic that, with the opening of the True Colors Residence, more housing and services will be available to help our most vulnerable youth succeed and thrive . In 2010, Mayor Bloomberg’s Commission on L.G.B.T.Q. Runaway and Homeless Youth report high-lighted that LGBTQ youth are particularly at risk of leaving home. In response, the Commission recommended the addition of beds and specialized services for this population, so we are especially pleased to see this vision becoming a reality.”

Jeanne B. Mullgrav