U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will be among several hundred people celebrating 20 years of advocacy of the nonprofit Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth at its annual gala on Friday.
The group, also known as LIGALY, has established community centers that serve as gathering places and resources for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth in Bay Shore and Garden City. It’s also been behind an innovative approach to gain visibility for the community and to increase parent and school involvement in protecting the rights of gay and lesbian youth.
Among advocacy initiatives that attracted headlines were organizing the first suburban gay prom in 2001 and establishing last year the first gay parent-teacher association in the state and the only one in the nation.
That work has boosted visibility for the community and the organization, said chief executive David Kilmnick, leading to Pelosi’s visit as celebrity guest. The Democratic Party leader from San Francisco is a known supporter of GLBT rights and funding for HIV/AIDS treatment.
“Long Island traditionally has been forgotten when it comes to many social justice issues,” Kilmnick said. “We need to be more vigilant and more visible to bring the resources to our region.”
Funds raised from event sponsorship and tickets to the gala will support the purchase of a passenger van to transport youth to the group’s centers and activities. The gala, which starts at 6 p.m., will take place at Carlyle on the Green at Bethpage State Park.