By Bill Parry
City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and Flushing Town Hall hosted a special celebration of LGBT Pride at the Queens Center mall Monday as part of the lead up to next month’s Queens Pride Parade in Jackson Heights.
During the event, Dromm recognized LaGuardia & Wagner Archives Director Dr. Richard Lieberman, Drag Queen Story Hour and Queens Pride Co-chairs Tina Arniotis and Monique “Mo” George, for contributing to the LGBT rights movement over the years.
“I was delighted to celebrate the LGBT community’s many accomplishments alongside a host of activists, performers and community supporters at Queens Center mall,” Dromm said. “This year’s honorees have all opened hearts and minds across Queens in their own special and unique ways.”
He also paid a special tribute to journalist Mark Lord for his accomplishments profiling LGBT activists and events throughout his career.
“We are incredibly honored to help Council member Dromm celebrate the legacy of Pride in Queens,” Flushing Town Hall Executive and Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek said. “At Flushing Town Hall, we are committed to representing and celebrating all the diverse voices that make up our community — the spirit of inclusivity that Queens Pride represents is also core to our own mission.”
The 26th Annual Queens Pride Parade will step off June 3 at noon along 37th Avenue and be followed with a multicultural festival located at 37th Avenue and 75th Street in what has become the second largest Pride event in the city, drawing as many as 40,000 participants each year. Eli Betts, 20, has been selected as a grand marshal of this year’s Queens Pride Parade in recognition of his leadership in Generation Q, a Forest Hills-based LGBTQ youth program operated by the Queens Community House. Betts will don the grand marshal sash alongside Borough President Melinda Katz and the non-profit Hetrick-Martin Institute, a Manhattan-based center for LGBTQ youth advocacy.
“Today’s LGBTQ youth are the ones who will carry the torch as we continue our journey for equality and justice for the community,” Arniotis said.
Generation Q offers a variety of health, wellness and support services for LGBTQ youth ages 12 to 21, including support groups, counseling, social events, workshops, and advocacy and social justice training. Betts has attended the program since he was 13, and now spends much of his free time doing outreach for new members.
“When I meet a young person I feel could benefit from Gen Q, I invite them to attend with me,” Betts said. “I’ve brought many participants to Gen Q over the years.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr