New York City has long held a spot at the forefront of America’s struggle for queer rights, leading the country by embracing its LGBTQ residents. This week, they did it again when they elected the city’s first openly HIV positive politician.
This Wednesday, Corey Johnson was elected as New York City Council speaker. A gay man from Massachusetts, he came out in 2000 when he was captain of his high school football team. He also served as political director for queer blog, Towleroad.
Having first been elected to New York City Council in 2013, he’s passed 18 pieces of legislation. Most of his work focuses on rent regulation, tenant protection, HIV/AIDS resources, and LGBTQ rights.
As speaker, he holds the second-most powerful elected position after mayor. Following this week’s election, Mayor Bill de Blasio took to Twitter with a message of congratulations.
Congratulations, @CoreyinNYC aka @NYCSpeakerCoJo, on your election as City Council Speaker! I look forward to four great years of partnership together.
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 3, 2018
🎉🎉Congratulations to our NEW #NYCSpeaker @NYCSpeakerCoJo! 🎉🎉 pic.twitter.com/k617xxCMgy
— NYC Council (@NYCCouncil) January 3, 2018
Johnson also expressed his gratitude for being elected on Twitter.
“I’m honored and humbled to have been selected by my colleagues as Speaker of the New York City Council,” he said. “I look forward to working with all of my fellow Council Members on behalf of all New Yorkers. My mom taught me that fierce women get things done. You are my best friend, my rock, and I wouldn’t be here without you. I love you, mom.”
He also went on to discuss some of the important issues he plans on tackling in his position. From affordable housing to stop-and-frisk to education to healthcare to equality for women, immigrants, people of color, and trans people.
As Trump’s first year in office comes to a close, Corey Johnson is one of the many progressive politicians creating a better country in the face of adversity.