Two major LGBT activists — the former Executive Director of Empire State Pride, Alan van Capelle, and Juli Grey-Owens, a transgender rights advocate — today endorsed State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside) in his campaign for re-election ahead of the Queens Pride Parade this Sunday, June 3 in Jackson Heights.

    “The LGBT community understands the meaning of friendship, and we know a good friend when we see one. Jose Peralta has been a strong and consistent friend of our community even when it wasn’t popular to do so. Jose was an early, strong and vocal supporter for our right to marry, and it was his support in the legislature which helped advance our cause to full equality time and time again. He stood with us when we were working to end bullying in our schools and when we were fighting for the ability to make medical decisions on behalf of our partners. Jose worked alongside Empire State Pride countless times and I can’t recall a single moment when we asked for help and he didn’t deliver for us. Now Jose needs our help and frankly, he has earned it. I am proud to endorse Senator Jose Peralta for re-election,” said van Capelle.

    State Sen. Jose Peralta

    “I have spent over 15 years of my life fighting for the rights of transgender and non-binary people. Although we have seen progress, our community is still without basic civil rights here in New York. Add to that the hateful rhetoric and aggressive actions the Trump administration has taken to condone discrimination against LGBT people, and it becomes clear that we must support candidates that have shown a strong commitment to our community. When it comes to choosing a candidate to endorse, I look at their past support of our community and whether they have the fortitude to be willing to put their career on the line for us. That is why I’m endorsing Senator Jose Peralta,” said Grey-Owens.

    “Senator Peralta has always been an advocate for the LGBT community, and he played a crucial role in passing the New York State same-sex marriage act. I know when push comes to shove, he’s the right man for the job. Our fight for civil rights is far from over, and I know that Senator Jose Peralta is willing and capable of going the distance with us,” Grey-Owens added.

    Grey-Owens is a Long Island and New York State Transgender Community Advocate. She is the Executive Director of LITAC, the Long Island Transgender Advocacy Coalition and Board Chair of TransPAC, New York’s first Political Action Committee totally focused on Transgender Rights.  She served two full terms on the Board of Directors for the Empire State Pride Agenda, New York State’s LGBT advocacy organization, and for the past two years has been the Lead Organizer for the GENDA Campaign, working to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, the transgender civil rights legislation in New York.

    Peralta said said as both Grey-Owens and van Capelle have been forces in the LGBT community for years, he is humbled to be receiving their endorsement.

    “As an LGBT ally, I was proud to be a key vote in the passage of same-sex marriage in New York State, and I continue to fight for increased protection and advancement of LGBT rights, including co-sponsoring the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act and successfully allocating funding to organizations such as APICHA which provides funding to gay seniors. There is still much work to do, but with some of the most formidable voices for progress in New York at my side, I know we can achieve equality and justice for all New Yorkers,” said Peralta.

    The endorsements come on the heels of several other major endorsement fro Peralta including from the RWDSU, Assemblyman Jeff Aubry, DC37 Local 1407, DC37 Local 372, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and the Queens County Democratic Party.

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