As early voting is underway, polls show in New York’s governor’s race has tightened. GLAAD urges the media to include LGBTQ people and issues in their coverage this campaign season and to ask the candidates about their public statements, policies, and proposals for LGBTQ New Yorkers. Polling and turnout analysis from the 2020 election indicate that LGBTQ voters played a deciding role in the victory of Joe Biden for President and in battleground states and districts that made the deciding difference in key races.
Media covering New York’s 2022 midterm elections should note the gubernatorial candidates’ LGBTQ records and ask the candidates about them. The records include:
Gov. Kathy Hochul (D, incumbent) (above, left)
—Signed legislation in honor of LGBTQ Pride Month including services for transgender and gender nonconforming people, and secured the largest increase of LGBTQ+ Health and Human Services funding in state history
—Signed legislation into law that will require utility companies, municipalities, water-works corporations and telephone service providers to allow customers to use their preferred name and pronouns.
—Signed legislation into law including the Gender Inclusive Ballot Act which enables people who do not identify as a binary gender to run for party positions
—Signed legislation into law expanding social assistance for New York’s LGBTQ seniors
—Signed the START Act into law, which vacates convictions for victims of sex and labor trafficking, and voiced her desire for people imprisoned in New York to be housed in facilities that align with their gender identity, a protection measure many transgender groups have called for
—Launched an investivation into Long Island libraries following reports that the Smithtown Library Board of Trustees voted to pull LGBTQ materials from the children’s section at four branches during Pride month
—Declared a state disaster emergency in the monkeypox virus (MPV) outbreak, created a text messaging alert campaign to inform about cases, spread and vaccine availability, and directed information resources to affected communities including the LGBTQ community
—Issued statement on Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), directed state landmarks to be lit in honor of TDOV, and announced appointments of transgender, gender non-conforming and nonbinary people to her administration
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R) (above, right)
—Proposed restrictions on sex education in schools that goes farther than Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay/Trans” law, which only explicitly affects students up to the third grade. At an appearance at the church of anti-LGBTQ state senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., said teachers should not be allowed to answer sex education questions asked by students as old as 13 in the seventh grade and that teachers should notify the student’s parents about the question and leave it up to them to answer it. “The teacher, instead of trying to answer (and) us(ing) that as an opportunity to try to get all the other kids an education of whatever that teacher wants to say to that student and the rest of that class, instead the teacher should be required to go to the parent… and deal with that issue at home,” he said.
—Campaign website makes no mention of LGBTQ people or rights, but includes a mention of ending “all indoctrination and brainwashing” on his education page, terms widely used by activists making inaccurate claims about policies that support LGBTQ students and families, and education about race and racism.
—Applauded former President Trump’s attacks on trans rights, including restrictions on transgender people using the bathroom matching their gender identity.
—Voted against marriage equality as a New York state senator in 2011.
—Voted against the Equality Act in 2019 and 2021
—Voted against the Global Respect Act in 2022, a bill that imposes visa-blocking sanctions on foreign individuals responsible for or complicit in violating the human rights of individuals due to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics.
—Co-sponsored the First Amendment Defense Act in 2015, a piece of legislation in the wake of the Obergefell decision that has thus far unsuccessfully sought to ban the federal government from taking “discriminatory action” against an individual on the basis that a person believes that marriage should “should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman” or “sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”
—Voted against House Resolution 124 which expressed opposition to banning service in the Armed Forces by openly transgender individuals.
—Voted for The Respect for Marriage Act in 2022.
—Said appointing an anti-abortion health commissioner is a “great idea”
For more resources and information on the midterm election, visit GLAAD.org/vote.
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love.