"Our Work is Far From Over": Empire State Pride Agenda Looks to the Future
By Benjamin Solomon
29 Jun 2014
Nathan M. Schaefer
As part of Playbill.com's 30 Days of Pride, Empire State Pride Agenda discusses its achievements and plans for the future.
It didn't end with marriage equality.
After a decade of lobbying the New York State Legislature, Empire State Pride Agenda saw the passage of the Marriage Equality Act in 2011 and New York State become the sixth state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage.
But in the aftermath of the highly publicized, heavily-funded campaign, ESPA — as it is known to its dedicated staff and volunteers — didn't rest on its laurels. In the three years since that landmark Gay Pride vote, ESPA has renewed its mission to "win equality and justice for LGBT New Yorkers and our families" in its fights for transgender equality and surrogacy legalization, and against bullying and "gay conversion."
"We've made incredible gains in recent years, including the rapid succession in states for the right to marry. But our work is far from over," says ESPA executive director Nathan M. Schaefer, who has led the advocacy group since 2012 . "Transgender New Yorkers remain unprotected from being evicted from their homes or fired from their jobs. New York State law does not provide adequate protections for our families, leaving children in potential legal limbo. LGBT youth remain vulnerable to damaging practices that try to change them, and more resources are needed to address the disproportionate number of LGBT homeless youth. Our work remains more relevant than ever until all these issues and more have been resolved."