New York Lawmakers Pass Major Pro-LGBTQ Bills

After years and years of attempting to protect transgender New Yorkers, the New York state legislature has finally passed GENDA, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act.

The legislation explicitly bans discrimination in the state based on gender expression and gender identity. The bill won passage with a vote of 100-40 in the Assembly and 42-19 in the Senate.

Transgender and gender non-conforming people will now be protected in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations. 

While New York State has had laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation since 2002, trans people across the state have fought for 17 years for clear protections under state law.

“This is truly an historic day,” Eric Lesh, executive director of the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York, told The Daily Beast. “We are finally welcoming a fairer and more equal New York because of the bold and tireless leadership of trans and gender non-conforming New Yorkers.”

According to the Human Rights Campaign, GENDA passed in the state Assembly 11 times over the years, but the GOP-controlled Senate would kill the bill. Only now that Democrats control the Senate has the legislation finally passed and will head to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk to be signed into law.



Additionally, a ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy’ passed in both chambers, making New York the 15th state to protect LGBTQ youth from the harmful practice.

The legislation passed in the state Assembly 134 to 3, and in the state Senate by a vote of 57-4.

“Today’s historic action in New York is the result of years of hard work and it is a vivid illustration of the importance of electing pro-equality lawmakers,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in a statement.

“Due to the efforts of countless advocates and leaders, transgender New Yorkers will now be explicitly protected from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and LGBTQ youth will be protected from the dangerous, debunked practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy,' added Griffin. "This is a monumental day for fairness and equality across the Empire State.”

Major medical organizations like the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all denounced ‘conversion therapy’ which treats being gay as a mental illness.

So-called ‘ex-gay therapy’ has been shown to lead to depression, anxiety and, in some cases, suicide.

(h/t HRC, The Daily Beast)

Chelsea Spa in Legal Trouble After New Jersey Man Inappropriately Touched

Living Fresh Men's Spa, a spa located in Chelsea, NYC is getting sued after one New Jersey man alleges that he was inappropriately touched by one of the spa's masseurs, according to the New York Post

Ronnie Arnau, a man from Woodland Park, New Jersey, went to the spa in Chelsea with his husband expecting to get only a massage and a facial but got more than he bargained for, and nothing that he actually wanted. As he lay prone on the massage table, he recalls that his masseur, Pei Tien started giving him what he felt was a normal massage, but about ten minutes into the massage things started to go south. 

During the massage, Tian began to focus exclusively on Arnau's buttocks for a disproportionately long period of time, making Arnau very uncomfortable. Still uncomfortable, Tian moved his finger beneath Arnau's buttocks and began to caress, which, I assume, is not part of a normal massage. Arnau never said that he consented to anyone touching his penis and he never indicated that he wanted anyone to. Shaken by this, Arnau was shocked until his masseur threw off the towel and told him to turn over. 

Arnau quickly got up from the massage table and told Tian to leave the room and immediately called the police. Tian has been charged with forcible touching and sexual abuse. His criminal case is still pending. Tian has never commented on this incident, but the spa owner says that he is still working there.

The receptionist of Living Fresh Men's Spa, Sean, commented that it is "not that kind of spa." Arnau's suit says that the owner of the spa is fully aware of the lewd and illicit activity that occurs within the spa but does nothing about it. Arnau's lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, commented on the inaction of the spa owner, saying that by ignoring Arnau's complaint, he is silently allowing the idea that gay men at spas welcome inappropriate touching from spa staff.

Goldberg's comment speaks to a much deeper issue: the idea that men "always want it" and that gay men specifically are sex crazed. Sexual assault has become somewhat of a hot topic, with people bringing awareness to how prevalent it is with the #MeToo movement, so one would think that maybe touching someone inappropriately without their consent would be the wrong thing to do, but some people never learn. It saddens me to think about how Arnau's complaints were completely ignored by the spa's staff, as it is very telling of the sad fact that sexual assault victims are not believed.  

h/t: New York Post

This New York Teen Came Out At His High School Graduation (And The Crowd Went Crazy)

18-year-old Shankar Lal is starting to get some attention on his Instagram account. Why? Because of a video from two months ago.

Earlier this year, Lal decided it was time for him to come out. He first did so by speaking privately to his family, which went… ok.

While his family didn’t outright reject them, he told Buzzfeed News that they were also “concerned and taken aback.”

"I approached this situation as an opportunity to educate them," he said. "I tried my best to teach them about LGBT people and culture."

With that job done, Shankar Lal took on the next step. Coming out to his school. And what better time to do that than at graduation?

This past June, Lal graduated from the Media Arts & Music program at Hillcrest High School in New York. It was at his ceremony that he left a lasting impression on his now alma mater.

"I decided that I wanted to come out at graduation a month before it actually happened," the recent grad told BuzzFeed. "I remember shopping at Target and seeing all the pride gear. I thought to myself, Wouldn’t it be crazy if I just whipped out a pride flag at graduation?"

Thankfully, someone recorded the stunning moment.


we love a good reveal #classof2018 #pride #loveislove #lgbt #pridemonth #dragrace

A post shared by Shankar (@thatsoshanks) on

"The response was insane," Lal said. "I walked across the stage with my pride flag over my shoulders and suddenly everyone started cheering for me. I remember hearing my principal and teachers tell me they were proud of me."

“There was so much love in that room. It was amazing. Even on social media, I had so much love and support. Coming out on graduation was definitely one of the proudest moments in my life.”

h/t: Buzzfeed News

Catholic Charities Of Buffalo Shuts Down Adoptions Over Same-Sex Couples

The Catholic Charities of Buffalo has announced the organization will end its adoption and foster care services because Jesus.

New York state law bans discrimination against same-sex couples when it comes to adoption or foster care, but the Catholic Church’s position is that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

“We’re a Catholic organization, so we have to practice what we do consistent with the teaching of the church,” Dennis C. Walczyk, the chief executive officer of Catholic Charities, told The Buffalo News.

The issue came to a head when a same-sex couple recently filed an application to become adoptive foster parents. Rather than place a homeless child with a loving couple, Catholic Charities chose to shut down.

It’s worth noting that this is the same Catholic Church which is currently facing enormous scandal in neighboring Pennsylvania where a two year grand jury investigation revealed over 300 priests sexually abused over 1,000 children across 7 decades.

The state issued a statement underscoring its commitment to allowing ALL qualified families to take part in foster care and adoption programs.

“In New York State, we welcome all families who are ready to provide loving and nurturing homes to foster or adoptive children,” said Children and Family Services spokeswoman Monica Mahaffey. “There is no place for providers that choose not to follow the law.”

There are currently 34 children in 24 of the the Catholic Charities certified foster homes. Those children will eventually be transferred to the auspices of another agency.

Sadly, those couples in the middle of the adoption process will be forced to begin again with a new agency.

In this day and age, its utterly ridiculous that an organization that alleges to care for children can’t somehow find a middle ground on this issue.

The editorial board of The Buffalo News agrees, writing:

It is a shame that the church cannot find a way to bridge this chasm, which will eventually open in every state. Does placing a child with a same-sex couple necessarily mean that the church endorses same-sex marriage? Surely there are differences between approving of such unions and simply acknowledging the fact of them. And isn’t any child better off with a loving family that wants to provide its support?

It’s clear the Catholic Church’s answer to those questions is ‘no.’

It seems it’s better to leave children homeless than allow a same-sex couple to offer their love and shelter.

Because… that’s what Jesus would have wanted?


Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or  fellow Contributors. 

Gov. Cuomo Proclaims June 20th 'Edie Windsor Day' In New York

What a perfect moment for Pride Month.

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has proclaimed June 20 to be Edie Windsor Day in New York State as a tribute to her legacy championing equality and justice for the LGBTQ community, and for being on the front lines of the fight for marriage equality. 

Today would have been Windsor's 89th birthday.

When Windsor’s wife, Thea Spyer died in 2009, she was told she owed the U.S. government $363,053 in federal estate taxes on her inheritance of Spyer’s estate. At the time, federal law did not recognize same-sex marriages thanks to the woeful Defense of Marriage Act.

In 2010, Windsor filed a lawsuit for a refund rightfully calling DOMA unconstitutional.

A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York agreed in 2012, as did the Second Circuit Court of Appeals later that year.

All this led to Windsor’s landmark victory in United States v. Windsor that secured equal rights for married same-sex couples on a federal level.

It was on June 26, 2013, that the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5–4 decision declaring Section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional "as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment."

Windsor’s win at SCOTUS paved the way for nationwide marriage equality. In 2013, TIME Magazine named her a finalist for their ‘Person of the Year,’ losing out only to Pope Francis.

As Gov. Cuomo’s proclamation declares, “Edie’s strength, perseverance, and conviction in the face of adversity has made her a hero to all New Yorkers and an invaluable inspiration to countless others in the fight for equality.”

“Edie was an iconic New Yorker who shaped history and taught us that love always wins,” Cuomo said today. “Proclaiming her birthday as Edie Windsor Day is a fitting way to salute a true New York hero whose strength, perseverance, and conviction in the face of adversity continues to inspire all of us.”

Windsor passed away on September 12, 2017, in Manhattan. Her second wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor was by her side.

Sex Club Charges Extra For Bottoms!

Sex Club Charges Extra For Bottoms!

Is This Fair To Our Bottom Brothers?

#LORD! If you’re at all familiar with the sexual term anonymous you know the sex is consensual and with one person seemingly never seeing what the other looks like. In most anonymous videos and stories from friends, it’s clear the bottom is typically blindfolded in this situation and allows a top to come in and get it to him. In theory, it’s pretty hot: But even consensual, sex anonymous sex with a stranger could be potentially dangerous. If you choose to participate in anonymous sex, there’s a private club in New York which may be right up your alley.

Anonymous is a private, unprotected, gay-sex party held in Brooklyn. The first event last month was so successful the organizers have decided to have another go at it this upcoming weekend. According to their advertisement, you can experience blindfolded bottoms – in place – all night. Check out the flier below:

It’s easy to miss, but let’s take another look at the flier. Yes! The private party is charging more of an entry fee for bottoms! Outrageous! Should we be upset at the privilege the tops are receiving?

According to Gay Star News, the club promoter doesn’t want people thinking he’s shaming bottoms: He wants to give them the full experience. He tells:

“The way the party works is that bottoms volunteer as a cumdump. They are placed into position for the entirety of the party and stay there as long as they want. I’m a big old bottom, and this has always been a fantasy of mine, but for it to work – and for the experience to be achieved for the cumdump bottoms – we need a huge ratio of tops to bottoms, which means discounting admission for anyone who wants to top. That’s also part of what the bottoms are paying more for – guaranteed high numbers of tops. We are not proctoring anybody’s sexual identity, we’re just asking which role you’ll prefer to play in this particular fantasy experience. We don’t mention vers on the flyer or voyeurs, but certainly both are welcome to come. I wish I had a shocking or controversial reason for charging bottoms more, but no, I just wanted to center a party around bottoms who have a gang-bang fantasy, and that means making it easier to attend if you‘re eager to play the complementary role in this scene.”

So, in the end, the bottoms are actually getting what they want: Which is to be stuffed! I’m all for charging the tops less if it’s going to swing in favor for the bottoms.

I’m curious if any of you are heading to the event? I’m just oozing to hear someone’s experience.

Cynthia Nixon Is Gaining Traction In Her Race For The New York Governor Seat

Despite her lack of political experience, it seems that Cynthia Nixon is making headway in her race for the New York Governor seat.

Last week, Cynthia Nixon made headlines for a witty line she gave while speaking about her opponent at a dinner.

While speaking to the attendees of the annual Legislative Correspondents Association dinner earlier this month, Nixon unabashedly shared her opinion on the state’s current governor, Andrew Cuomo.

“Andrew Cuomo is known for dirty politics but I have to give credit where it’s due,” Nixon told the crowd. “His history of cutthroat campaigns, helped inspire my campaign’s new slogan.”

It was then that Nixon stated the line, “Vote for the Homo, not for the Cuomo.”

That said, it wasn’t Nixon that thought up the line. Rather, she flipped an original slogan on its head.

In 1977, Cuomo’s father, Mario Cuomo, was running for mayor of New York City against Ed Koch. During the campaigning process, posters appeared across the city with the slogan, “Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo.” While Andrew, who was a part of his father’s campaign, denied being in involved with the flyers, Koch blamed the Cuomos.

But saying a catchy slogan just shows that Nixon is witty. Does that prove that she should win office? Not quite. But, gaining powerful allies can certainly help her.

New York’s progressive Working Families Party has recently announced its endorsement of Cynthia Nixon during its annual convention at Harlem’s First Corinthian Baptist Church.

If Nixon loses the gubernatorial primary on September 13, she will still be on the Working Families Party’s ballot for the November general election. That said, she hasn’t commented on whether she would opt for that yet.

Meanwhile, polls show that Cuomo is currently in the lead when it comes to public approval.

As the Seattle Pi reports:

“A Quinnipiac University poll released May 2 found 50 percent of registered Democratic voters favor Cuomo compared to 28 percent for Nixon. The poll of 1,076 New York state voters conducted April 26 to May 1 has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.”

So, it looks like Cynthia Nixon still has more to go in terms of campaigning and gaining the people’s trust. Will she be able to do it in time for the election?

h/t: New York Daily News, The Cut, Seattle Pi

New York State Senate Republicans Kill Trans Protections Bill For 11th Year

For 11 years in a row, the New York state Assembly has approved legislation prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity.

And for the 11th year in a row, the Republican-controlled NY state Senate has killed that bill in committee. The legislation failed today on a party line 5-4 vote.

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, or GENDA, was defeated today in the New York Senate Investigations & Government Operations Committee.

GENDA would add “gender identity or expression” to the language of the existing NYS Human Rights Law that prohibits discrimination in the areas of employment, health care, housing, public transportation, public accommodations, and credit.

Sen. Brad Hoylman, the only openly LGBT member of the New York state Senate and the ranking Democrat on the committee, was disgusted.

“In 21st century New York State, it’s appalling that Senate Republicans would vote along party lines against GENDA,” said a statement from Hoylman’s office. “Human rights shouldn’t be a partisan issue – and they aren’t in other states.”

Hoylman lost no time pointing out that New Hampshire’s GOP-controlled legislature passed protections for LGBT folks this month. It’s now possible that New York will be the only state in the northeast without statewide protections for trans people.

"As the Trump Administration continues to roll back protections for LGBT Americans, New York has the obligation to protect its transgender citizens from discrimination and hate crimes,” Hoylman added. "Unfortunately, the State Senate failed miserably in its duties. Moving forward, I’ll continue to fight for passage of GENDA in a new State Senate after the midterms.”

The Openly Gay Coach Who Was Suspended For A LGBTQ Charity Event Is Now Running For Office

Get ready New York voters to support a potential LGBTQ representative that’s trying to do good for the community.

As Lohud reports, Anthony Nicodemo has announced that he’s running for State Assembly.

If you haven’t heard of Nicodemo before, that’s ok, but know that he’s already done a lot of good for the LGBTQ community and for youth in his area.

Anthony Nicodemo is currently a teacher at Saunders Trades and Techincal High School in Yonkers, New York. He also spends his time being the head coach for the boys’ basketball team.

Earlier this year, Nicodemo was one of two coaches who were suspended for organizing an LGBTQ charity basketball game. The event raised $800 to support a local chapter of LGBTQ youth charity group GLSEN (pronounced “glisten”). Also, former Brooklyn Net player Jason Collins spoke about being gay in the NBA.



At the time, the coaches were suspended because New York’s Section One Athletic Council said they had failed to file the paperwork to sanction the fundraiser. No homophobic bias led to the suspension.

“This event,” tweeted Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, “allowed student athletes to support inclusion and diversity, which is what the city of Yonkers is about. My hope is that Section One reconsiders their position and a coach is not admonished over a technicality.”

At the time, Nicodemo also shared that he was worried that Section One's targeting the event would mean he couldn’t put it on in a following year.

“Next year when I try to host this event again, am I going to have schools say ‘no thank you’ because they’re worried they’re going to be targets of Section One?” Nicodemo asked. “That’s the chilling effect here.”

But, it looks like Nicodemo is taking matters into his own hands by running for office.



Anthony Nicodemo has announced that he’ll be running for the vacant seat in the 90th District of the state, which covers most of Yonkers.

“I’ve been representing Yonkers for years, and the City of Yonkers has been so supportive of my endeavors and what I’ve done,” Nicodemo says. “Shelly Mayer did such a great job of representing Yonkers and our kids, and who I thought can do a better job of replacing her than me?”

Nicodemo hopes to focus on the issues of education, gun reform, union labor, and LGBT rights, according to his website.

“It seems that human rights are attacked on a daily basis in our country,” he says in a campaign video. “Marginalized communities need an elevated voice in our society. No one should be discriminated against for being themselves. I plan on listening to these folks and helping create a better culture for everyone.”

Good luck to Nicodemo in this coming fall’s election.

h/t: LoHud, Outsports, NewNowNext

Miranda To Address Political Run On Wendy Williams!

Miranda To Address Political Run On Wendy Williams!

The Future Governor of New York, Cynthia Nixon, Speaks Out!

#GoGetOurGirl. If you aren’t savvy with the trailblazing HBO series, Sex and the City, you may not recall Cynthia Nixon’s legendary plea to have Chris Noth’s character rescue Sarah Jessica Parker’s iconic Carrie Bradshaw: Go get our girl. Well, it turns out, my favorite Talk Show Host, Wendy Williams, snags the first television interview with Nixon as she begins her campaign for Governor of New York. We recently reported of the Actress’ run for Governor and it collectively had the entire LGBTQ community – and the Mirandas of the world losing their minds!

According to Variety, Nixon will appear on Williams’ hit show today, Wednesday, April 4th. Ahh! This is going to be an interview to not be missed. While Williams is infamous for throwing shade, we can certainly expect her to get down to the nitty gritty of Nixon’s political run. People may believe Williams is only good for celebrity gossip – but she has repeatedly proven she can snag the truth out of anyone. I’m going to be sitting there with my eyes glued to the screen!

I was first introduced to Nixon as being one of the leading ladies of Sex and the City. She was seemingly an introvert, fiery Lawyer who had a justified opinion on everything, including her friend’s love lives. I am one of the people who most closely identified with Miranda compared to the other characters- seriously, a girlfriend of mine still tags me in Miranda memes which frequently fly around on social media. Nixon has appeared on Williams previously, so I’m happy she’ll be in good company as they discuss the political run. I mean, if a Billionaire-Reality Television Star can be the President, what says Nixon cannot? I’m typically against someone with a face being involved in politics, but hell- we’re living in a new era. This appears to be the new normal.

Check out a preview of Nixon’s exclusive interview with Williams below: