Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Melissa Sklarz Elected ESPA Foundation Board Co-Chair!

The trans rights movement momentum continues forward despite the desperate attempts of our misguided oppressors to stop it.

Megacongratulations go out to Melissa Sklarz, who was elected the co-chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda Foundation's Board of Directors.

It marks the first time in the 25 year history of the organization that a trans person has been tapped to lead it.

Sklarz will serve alongside Norman C. Simon, a partner at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, who has served as Co-Chair of the Foundation Board since 2013 and was reelected to a third term at last weekend’s board meeting.

Sklarz is no stranger to breaking barriers.  In September 1999, she was the first transgender person to be elected to office in the New York Democratic Party.  Sklarz also was the first transgender delegate from New York to the Democratic National Convention in 2004.  In 2008, she was co-chair of Obama Pride NYC, the LGBT group working to elect President Obama in New York.  Sklarz served as the first transgender President of the Stonewall Democratic Club in New York City from 2012 to 2014.  She also served on Manhattan’s Community Board 2 for six years, and as president of the Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats.

After becoming a peer counselor at the Gender Identity Project in the mid-90s, Sklarz discovered there were little to no resources available to transgender New Yorkers, inspiring her to get involved with government and the political system.  She was a leader in successfully advocating for transgender anti-discrimination protections in New York City under a law signed in 2002 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. 

Since then, Sklarz has been working hard to  enact the same protections statewide through the passage of GENDA.  Sklarz has long worked on other issues of importance to LGBT New Yorkers, including civil rights protections; improved health care funding and access; birth certificate gender marker change modernization; education on transgender issues; and services for the LGBT aging population..

Congratulations once again Melissa for another groundbreaking step, and hope it finally results in the far too long delayed and denied trans human rights coverage for all New Yorkers

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