By Lawrence Pfeil, Jr.
In the city where Pride began, New York’s novice Mayor, Eric Adams is making shameful appointments of anti-LGBTQ leaders to municipal posts. It would be one thing if the three men were merely not “gay friendly,” but Fernando Cabrera, Erick Salgado, and Gilford Monrose are so virulently anti-LGBTQ one would mistake them for Republicans. Here’s an at a glance of the three from GayCityNews.com
“Cabrera, the best known of Adams’ three appointees, traveled to Uganda in January 2014, where he recorded a YouTube video lavishing praise on far right religious activists there who had introduced “Kill the Gays” legislation that they later, after a global outcry, watered down to provide instead for severe criminal penalties for homosexuality. Cabrera, who is also active in the anti-abortion movement, is the senior pastor at the New Life Outreach International Church, which has consistently stood against marriage equality.
“Salgado, in his 2013 mayoral run, cited homosexuality as a “mortal sin,” and in a candidate forum charged that the LGBTQ community advocates a ban on circumcision practices followed by some in the Orthodox Jewish community. According to the Daily News, he also condemned a Sheepshead Bay Holocaust memorial for honoring victims including gay men and political prisoners as well as the six million Jews who were murdered.”
“Monrose has criticized the LGBTQ community for its demand for “uncompromising acceptance,” and condemned not only marriage equality but also LGBTQ parents.”
Read the full Metroweekly article, “NYC mayor taps anti-LGBTQ pastors for city posts”
Equally horrifying as these men and their rabid homophobia are the positions for which Adams is appointing them. For example, Fernando Cabrera has called homosexuality a “mental illness,” which the American Psychological Association stopped classifying it as nearly half a century ago in 1973. Nevertheless, he was the Mayor’s first choice to run the Office of Community Mental Health. In an article from Politico.com,
“Young people who identify as part of the LGBTQ community are 120 percent more likely to experience homelessness and seek mental health services from the city.”
Having a misinformed homophobe in charge of New York City’s mental health program would not bode well for its LGBTQ youth. What’s more it makes one question Mayor Adams’s concern for those most at risk not to mention his judgement and/or motives in making appointments to high profile city offices.
Cabrera’s appointment was withdrawn for the position after sharp criticism and mounting outrage, but Adams has reportedly offered him a “faith based” position elsewhere in his administration.
Again from Politico,
“As an LGBTQIA elected official, I’d be outraged if the Mayor of New York City — the world capital of tolerance and multiculturalism — appointed an avowed homophobe to any position in city government,” [State Sen. Brad] Hoylman tweeted.”
Read Politico’s full article, “Adams looked to controversial ally to run mental health office”
It’s said, “once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, but three times is a pattern;” and that is precisely what Mayor Adams has demonstrated with the appointments of two other ardent homophobes, Erick Salgado and Gilford Monrose.
As reported by Gay City News, this alarming pattern has not gone unnoticed.
“New York City Councilmember Kristin Richardson Jordan (D-Manhattan), a member of the City Council’s LGBT Caucus, told Gay City News that Adams ‘has no business hiring a known bigot to influence the politics of New York City, especially when his harmful ‘faith based’ beliefs threaten to roll back the progression we have made in our city to the LGBT community, including same-sex marriage and protections against discrimination.’”
“Meanwhile, State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), reportedly said during a meeting with Adams that Cabrera ‘is a bigot and has no place in City Hall,’ to which the mayor allegedly responded, ‘We can agree to disagree.’”
Would Mayor Adams “agree to disagree” about the place of a white supremist or Nazi in City Hall?
In an interview with Gay City News, former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who was the Council’s first out LGBTQ leader said,
“I told him [Adams] I do not think these men have evolved, and if they have evolved or want to evolve they should put out a statement, but I don’t think they have evolved. The mayor is appointing two homophobes to positions in his administration. This is an enormous disappointment.”
Then, alluding to Adams’ past support for the LGBTQ community — including his 2009 and 2011 votes in favor of marriage equality in the State Senate — Quinn added, “I think we all had hopes that the mayor would be a true and significant friend. These do not feel like the actions of a friend.”
Read Gay City News’s full article, “Chris Quinn: Adams’ Homophobic Appointments ‘Do Not Feel Like Actions of a Friend’”
“These do not feel like actions of a friend” is an understatement to put it mildly. If any of the mayor’s predecessors had tried to appoint someone with a history of similar bigoted beliefs about Black people, the Black community, and advocated for their killing, like Cabrera, Salgado, and Monrose have about LGBTQ people, they would have been rightfully vilified from every side. The mayors would have immediately rejected the person, disavowed their hate filled beliefs and never done it again for fear of being branded a racist for supporting such a person let alone rewarding their bigotry with a city position.
Yesterday New York Daily News reported, Allen Roskoff, prominent LGBTQ rights activist, and founder of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, said, “he’s especially insulted by the mayor’s silence amid mounting criticism over his hires. ‘What is this City Hall? An employment agency for homophobes?’”
In his first two months, Mayor Adams has made three appointments of bigoted, hate spewing, anti-LGBTQ men. Despite the strong objections of other civic leaders and activists, he’s shown no regret in his choices. What’s more he has yet to appoint a single LGBTQ person to any position in his administration.
Eric Adams campaigned on “values of tolerance and inclusion.” As Winston Churchill said, “I no longer listen to what people say, I just watch what they do. Behavior never lies.” In this case, based on the Mayor’s pattern of behavior one has to seriously ask,
Is Mayor Eric Adams a closet homophobe?
(main photo: via Instagram)