On June 22, New York City residents will have a chance to vote in a primary election for NYC Council. Currently, there are no LGBTQ women on the council. But after this year’s elections, there could be as many as four.
LGBTQ women Tiffany Cabán, Crystal Hudson, Kristin Richardson Jordan, and Lynn Schulman are all running for council. All four have been endorsed by LPAC, the only organization whose mission is to build the political power of LGBTQ women.
“The record number of queer women running for local office highlights the LGBTQ community’s diversity and political strength,” says Lisa Turner, LPAC’s executive director. “Once elected, LGBTQ women bring a fresh perspective to governing that has often been long missing in local government.”
While all four women are poised to make history in their own ways, if Hudson and Jordan win, they will become the first LGBTQ Black women ever elected to the council.
Hudson is running to represent District 35 in Brooklyn. In the last several years, she has held senior roles in the City Council and the NYC Public Advocate’s office. Her inspiration for entering public service was becoming the primary caregiver for her mother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“It was through that experience that I saw firsthand how incredibly difficult it is for regular people and families to get access to services, resources, and basic needs,” says Hudson. “All of us should have a vision for our future in this community…and it’s really hard to do that given the way that the government does not work for so many of us.”
Jordan is running to represent District 9 in Harlem. An activist and organizer who has protested in the streets and led mass demonstrations, Jordan decided to run because she believed that her community deserved better. But she also was inspired by the election of “the squad.”
“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez specifically was part of my inspiration for opening up my imagination to the idea that politicians could be something other than sell outs,” explains Jordan. “With her election, I realized that we could take really radical voices and people power and infiltrate the system.” Both Jordan and Hudson, as well as Cabán have been endorsed by the Courage to Change PAC, which is affiliated with Ocasio-Cortez.
Though all four LGBTQ women are running to represent different parts of NYC, their platforms are similar in many ways. Jordan and Hudson both cite affordable housing, education, and community safety among their top three priorities.
Schulman too, who is running to represent District 29 in Queens, spoke about the importance of education. And Cabán, who is a career public defender running to represent District 22 in Queens, is focusing her campaign on public safety and education as well as the Green New Deal.
All four women have advocated publicly for LGBTQ issues. Hudson explained that “every issue is an LGBTQ issue,” but she believes that housing is an issue that crosses every part of the LGBTQ community, especially youth. She also spoke about the importance of centering Black transgender women.
Jordan, on the other hand, spoke about the erasure of Black LGBTQ women in politics.
“People want to organize for Black liberation, but not necessarily deal with being LGBTQ [and vice versa].” says Jordan. “I believe that the erasure piece is to our detriment because we do not get to full liberation on either of those battles if we’re not dealing with the intersections.”
Early voting for the NYC Council runs from June 12 – June 20, with primary day scheduled for June 22.