Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced the grand opening of the New York State WorldPride Welcome Center, located at 112 Christopher Street in New York City's West Village, steps from the Stonewall National Monument. WorldPride, the largest international LGBTQ Pride celebration, is coming to New York this month to coincide with the Stonewall 50 commemorations, marking the first time it has been held in the United States.
"Pride is a special month for the LGBTQ community and for all New Yorkers, and with the Empire State hosting WorldPride this year on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall we have a lot to celebrate and commemorate, " Governor Cuomo said. "From the passage of marriage equality and GENDA to our ongoing fight with the Trump administration over critical protections for transgender individuals, New York has been a national leader in the fight for LGBTQ rights and we will always stand alongside this community that we love so much. As millions of people visit our state this June, the WorldPride Welcome Center will highlight the roots and accomplishments of the LGBTQ rights movement in New York and promote the state as a safe, welcoming destination with no place for hate."
"No person should face discrimination or violence because of their gender identity, especially in the state that is the birthplace of the LGBTQ rights movement," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "We proudly celebrate our diversity that makes us the Empire State. As we mark Stonewall 50, the new WorldPride Welcome Center stands as a pillar of community and equality near the Stonewall National Monument. We will continue to embrace our history as we lead the nation as a state that is welcoming to all."
Created in partnership with NYC Pride/Heritage of Pride and The LGBT Community Center, the New York State WorldPrideWelcome Center is located just blocks away from the site of the original Stonewall Inn. On June 28, 1969, LGBTQ community members began spontaneous demonstrations at the Stonewall Inn that lasted for six days and are recognized today as the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ rights movement. The Welcome Center showcases New York's role in the struggle for equality through a timeline gallery from the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis in the 1950s, to the Stonewall uprising in the 1960s, to Governor Cuomo signing the state's Marriage Equality Act into law in the 2010s.
The rainbow pride colors are featured prominently throughout the Welcome Center. Visitors can take a picture at the selfie wall, featuring the I LOVE NY LGBT logo. Overhead, the center's ceiling showcases a creative deconstructed interpretation of the pride flag, and the rainbow colors are also incorporated into the center's shelves and lighting.
Encouraging travel and tourism is a vital piece of the Welcome Center's mission. A video wall highlights destinations around the state popular with LGBTQ travelers, and promotes special events scheduled to coincide with WorldPride. Interactive I LOVE NY kiosks allow visitors to test their knowledge of the state or create a travel profile that recommends attractions based on interest.
The 2019 WorldPride commemoration includes marches, performances and festivals that promote the LGBTQ rights movement and will welcome an estimated four million visitors from across the United States and around the world to New York. In anticipation, New York State and I LOVE NY have been promoting visitation and travel to the state for Stonewall 50 and WorldPride 2019. Over the past year, in partnership with NYC Pride/Heritage of Pride - the organizers of WorldPride 2019 and Stonewall 50 - I LOVE NY has activated at Pride events across the globe to promote travel to the event and the state. Targeted print and digital advertising campaigns are promoting special WorldPride events happening across the state. More information on I LOVE NY LGBT, including the WorldPride 2019 Travel Guide, is available here.
Throughout his time in office, Governor Cuomo has been a national leader in championing LGBTQ rights. In 2011, New York passed the historic Marriage Equality Act and sent a message to the nation that it was time to end one of society's greatest inequities. In 2017, Governor Cuomo nominated Paul Feinman to the state's highest court - the New York Court of Appeals - where he became the first openly gay person to serve on the court.
Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo signed into law the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act and legislation banning the deplorable practice of conversion therapy, signifying a landmark victory for the LGBTQ community. Additionally, Governor Cuomo has committed to making New York the first state in the nation to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic and strengthened health care and insurance regulations to protect transgender New Yorkers.
In 2013, Governor Cuomo launched the I LOVE NY LGBT tourism initiative to make an invitation through advertising, social media and experiential marketing to the $70 billion LGBTQ domestic travel segment. Last year, the Governor opened New York's official monument honoring the LGBTQ community, including those lost in the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016, and all victims of hate, intolerance and violence. The memorial, designed by artist Anthony Goicolea, is located at the western edge of Greenwich Village, in Hudson River Park. In 2018, Governor Cuomo opened the New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center in Auburn, which features LGBTQ history as part of the story of New York's leadership role in furthering justice for all Americans.
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