Ali Forney Center Director Slams Bloomberg for ‘It Gets Better’ Video, Hypocrisy on LGBT and Homeless Youth

Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center, which provides shelter and services for homeless LGBT youth, is furious at NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg for an "It Gets Better" video the mayor released earlier today, in which he urged bullied gay youth to come to New York City where they would be accepted.

Siciliano explains, in a statement: Siciliano

"Two days after slashing support to homeless youth programs in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has the gall to release a video telling LGBT youth that 'It Gets Better.' Mayor Bloomberg, your cruel and reckless cuts to the meager support system for homeless LGBT youth in New York City just made things for them much worse! On January 1st,  Bloomberg cut support for outreach to homeless youth in half, cut most drop-in centers for homeless youth by a third, and cut support for the two LGBT homeless youth drop-in programs in half. In New York City there are over 1,000 LGBT youth suffering on the streets every night without access to safe shelter. The drop-in centers and outreach are their only support. Homeless LGBT youth are at incredible risk of suicide with 62% reporting that they have considered or attempted suicide.

The LGBT community needs to recognize these cuts as an attack against our most vulnerable youth, and against us as a whole. We pay just as much taxes as anyone, and there are far too few City-funded programs that support our most vulnerable youth.  If we can be treated like this in a city with as strong an community as NYC, how will our youth ever get their fair share of the resources they need and deserve? I cannot speak strongly enough about what a horror it is to have LGBT youth who have been discarded by homophobic parents flock to us for help, and to have to counsel them to sleep in the subways because there are not nearly enough beds for them."

Said Bloomberg in the video: "Right now there may be some of you out there who feel that there's no hope, or that you're not wanted. Well I have a message for you. New York City wants you. New York has always been the place where anyone can go, and be who they're supposed to be, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual identity. We need you."


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Real(ity) estate • Defining Homes

A Dallas couple’s adventure in house selling becomes an episode of HGTV’s ‘My First Sale’

By Arnold Wayne Jones

Keith Yonick, left, turned Dallas couple Troy and Cindy Hughes on to the idea of being on TV. But their youngest child, opposite, might steal every scene.

Although they live cosmopolitan lives — she’s a lawyer; he works for FM 105.3 with Chris Jagger — and count many gay neighbors in their gate East Dallas community among their friends, Cindy and Troy Hughes both grew up in small towns and craved the pace and benefits of the suburbs: lower taxes, good schools, safe streets. With a 4-year-old and a new baby, they figured next year would be a good time to look for a new home.

But the house-hunting started earlier than they expected. And more dramatically.

The Hugheses got a call from their real estate agent, Keith Yonick, with a proposition: Would they be interested in trying to sell their house now and have their experience filmed for the HGTV series My First Sale?

“When Keith called us and told us about the show, we went for it,” Cindy says.

“I think it’s great they chose Dallas for the show,” Yonick says. “I asked them why and they said because the houses are so different — they could film a townhouse in the city and a farmhouse in Forney or a suburban house.”

Yonick submitted four applications, and the network jumped at following the Hugheses. Still, it wasn’t the couple’s first foray into a reality series.

When Troy worked with Kidd Kraddick, he was recruited to be the “bachelor” in a radio rip-off of The Bachelor TV series. He was just supposed to chronicle his dates with several dozen women and invite one to a gala event. The one he selected was Cindy; they married three years later.

Still, a radio date is one thing; having yourself photographed 24/7 during a stressful process — the first sale of your home — was more pressure. Cindy even knows that on one day of filming, she came across as bitchy. (She’s hoping they edit that out, but Troy has forgiven her in any event.)
“We never treated it like a reality show but as a way to document this part of our lives,” Cindy says. “It was like making a home video.”

Knowing that “most houses take a year or more to sell” — Yonick says 370 days on the market is not unusual — they expected the process to stretch on for months, just in time for the next school year. So they were astonished that their house sold so quickly. In less than two months, they had a buyer.

Even so, the sale caught them so by surprise that they hadn’t even decided for certain where they would move.

“Our friends have all moved on to their next chapters — they were moving to Frisco and Rockwall.  They were always saying to us, ‘You have to move to Frisco!’ But we started looking in Wylie.”

It isn’t as far as it may seem. Troy leaves for work at 3 a.m. for his radio show (“I share the road with cops, construction workers and drunks,” he says) and Cindy’s job in Arlington meant she had a hike anywhere east of I-35.

“We thought we would move to Rockwall, but Wylie reminds me of what McKinney looked like when I came here in 1999,” Troy says. “We get more for our money out there, and there’s still a mall within four miles.”

Rather than buying an old house or going with a foreclosed property, they decided to build. Since the house won’t actually be ready until after they close on their sale, they’ll have to rent back their current house for a month. But as far as hardships go in real estate, that’s one they can live with.
“We got really lucky,” Troy says.

The Hugheses close on their sale on Oct. 29; their episode of My First Sale will air in the spring.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of Defining Homes Magazine October 8, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

October 7th In NYC: Ali Forney Center’s “A Place At The Table” Annual Benefit

The Ali Forney Center, NYC’s homeless shelter for LGBT youth, will be holding their annual “A Place At The Table” benefit gala dinner on October 7th at 91 Horatio Street in the West Village. Get tickets here. This year’s host is openly gay Tony winning actor Denis O’Hare, whom you may best know as True Blood’s vicious vampire, Russell Edgington.

The Ali Forney Center’s 2010 honorees are furniture mogul, author and gay activist Mitchell Gold…and somehow…yours truly. How’d that happen? I can just picture the King Of Mississippi ripping my heart out in mid-acceptance speech. “Now, time for the weather. Tiffany?” Seriously, I’m very flattered. As longtime JMG readers and my pals know, I can’t go two sentences about the noble and desperately needed work of the Ali Forney Center without needing a tissue.

Get tickets here. If you can’t attend, please consider making a donation. Times are hard everywhere, but nowhere more so than charities such the Ali Forney Center, where the stream of desperate gay youth is endless, but the money flow is definitely not. If you are a business owner or ad buyer, please consider placement in the evening’s program.

RELATED: Check out my post from last year’s “A Place At The Table” where the honorees were NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn and City Councilman Lewis Fidler, with entertainment provided by Rufus Wainwright. Also in the house last year: Sandra Bernhard, Dan Choi, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright