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New York Mets announce first LGBT Pride Night

By Bill Parry

The New York Mets will host the first LGBT “Gay Pride Night” by a city team from the four major professional sports leagues, team officials announced at Queens Borough Hall Tuesday. On Saturday, Aug. 13, more than 5,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender baseball fans will take part during a 7:10 p.m. Mets and Padres game.

Thousands of fans will wear commemorative Pride Night shirts with a portion of each ticket sale going to support the LGBT Network’s anti-bullying programs in city schools. Pre-game festivities will include a Pride in the Plaza show just outside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.

“Respect, dignity and fairness are the hallmarks of good sportsmanship, and they will be the marquee message at the very first LGBT Pride Night at Citi Field here in Queens,” Borough President Melinda Katz said. “Deep appreciation to Major League Baseball for elevating the message of inclusion to the home field for the benefit of anti-bullying programs in our schools.”

An estimated 2 million LGBT residents and families live in the New York metro area. Bullying remains a problem for LGBT youth, with over 82 percent being verbally or physically harassed in the past year, according to the LGBT Network.

“It’s not only in the school hallways where our young people report feeling unsafe, but also on the ball field,” LGBT Network CEO David Kilmnick said. “As a lifelong Mets fan, I am proud that the New York Mets are not only the defending National League Champions, but the champion of the New York sports world in making sure that everyone is welcomed and celebrated at Citi Field.”

Pride Night will offer seating in all areas of the park, including suites, with ticket prices beginning at $35.

“What a wonderful way of embracing LGBT fans and raising funds for the LGBT Network, a leading service provider in the Borough of Queens,” City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said. Dromm is a member of the Council’s Gay Caucus along with Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside).

“The Mets have continued their winning ways, hitting a Cespedes-like home run for equality,” Van Bramer said. “As a gay man and Mets fan since 1979, I’m proud that my favorite team has made a commitment to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for its LGBT fans. I look forward to rooting for the Mets with my husband at this summer’s Pride Night, and I congratulate the team and its fans on what clearly is a grand slam. Now, Let’s Go Mets!”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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