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
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
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.
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