FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | MAY 26, 2011 CONTACT: Sean Barry, 646.373.3344, sean@vocal-ny.

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LGBT Advocates Slam Bloomberg’s HIV/AIDS Policies Outside Marriage Equality Speech
Advocates Demand Full Restoration of Proposed Cuts to Housing & Nutrition Programs, Support for 30% Rent Cap Bill To Prevent Homelessness
New York, NY – LGBT New Yorkers and allies rallied outside Mayor Bloomberg’s speech on marriage equality today at Cooper Union today to draw attention to the harmful impact of his HIV/AIDS policies. Photos online here. “Mayor Bloomberg is a hypocrite for saying he’s on the side of LGBT New Yorkers while blocking legislation that would prevent homelessness for people living with HIV/AIDS and making deep cuts to HIV/AIDS programs in the City budget,” said Gustavo Pedroza, a VOCAL-NY leader and longtime marriage equality activist in Queens. “People can’t stay connected to HIV/AIDS treatment without stable housing.” Mayor Bloomberg’s final Executive Budget for FY12 doubled proposed funding cuts for supportive housing programs and calls for the elimination of a citywide nutrition and meals program for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS. And last year, Bloomberg’s opposition forced former Governor David Paterson to veto widely supported legislation that would prevent homelessness for 11,000 low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. The legislation, sponsored by openly HIV-positive Senator Tom Duane and Assembly Member Deborah Glick. would ensure low-income people living with HIV/AIDS who already qualify for rental subsidies pay no more than 30 percent of their disability income towards rent, the standard in every other housing assistance program. “Mayor Bloomberg is trying to redefine himself as a champion for civil rights while actively opposing legislation that would let me keep my home,” said Jim Lister, a VOCAL-NY leader and early activist in the LGBT business community in the West Village. “Bloomberg is not supporting LGBT people living with HIV/AIDS. If we are dead or homeless, gay marriage is irrelevant.” The HIV/AIDS epidemic remains rooted in inequality, homophobia and government neglect. About half of all people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States are gay and bisexual men. In New York City, gay men comprise 43% of all reported new HIV diagnosis despite making up less than 5% of the population. ###