it gets betterville

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg To Gay Kids: ‘New York City Wants (And Needs) You’

Say what you will about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but his It Gets Better video seems to be the first that acts as a recruitment guide for LGBT youth. “I have a message,” he says. “New York City wants you. New York has always been the place where anyone can go and be who they’re supposed to be.” UPDATE: And say what you will, indeed! We’d be remiss if we didn’t update this post with the poignant point from Ali Forney Center executive director Carl 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.

UPDATE 2: The New York City Council voted to reverse some of its previous budget cuts, which means there will be “a full restoration to a program directed at runaway homeless youth.”