NEW YORK. N.Y. — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has launched the WorldPride 2019 Ambassadors competition, ahead of the WorldPride and Stonewall 50 commemorations planned for June. WorldPride, the largest international LGBTQ Pride celebration, is coming to New York City in 2019, marking the first time it has been held in the U.S. The commemoration includes marches, performances and festivals that promote the LGBTQ rights movement, and the WorldPride Ambassadors selected to highlight the diversity of New York’s LGBTQ community will be invited to join I LOVE NY in New York City to be part of the celebration, including participating in the Pride March.

“From the Stonewall rebellion to the recent passage of GENDA, New York State has been at the forefront of the LGBTQ rights movement, making it the ideal destination for WorldPride this year,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Together with our WorldPride Ambassadors, we will show that there is no place for hate in our state as we celebrate the LGBTQ community and continue to fight for a safe and equal nation for all.”

“There is no better venue for the first WorldPride coming to America than New York City during the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, which launched the national modern day LGBTQ rights movement,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. “We stand with the LGBTQ community continuing to fight for their rights and protections, including the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act and a ban on conversion therapy recently. The WorldPride 2019 Ambassadors Competition will allow New Yorkers to share what makes their community special with countless tourists here to celebrate love and diversity.”

LGBTQ New Yorkers from across the state are encouraged to submit a video of no more than three minutes in length describing why they are proud of their municipality and state, and what in their town and region they would want to show off to LGBTQ visitors. Those selected as WorldPride Ambassadors will be featured in select I LOVE NY WorldPride promotions, as well as in educational anti-discrimination efforts by the New York State Division of Human Rights. For anyone interested in applying, more information is available online. Deadline for video submissions is March 31.

The WorldPride Ambassador competition is part of New York State’s overall promotion of WorldPride 2019 and Stonewall 50. In June 1969, LGBTQ community members held spontaneous demonstrations at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, an event considered by many as the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

New York State and I LOVE NY continue to promote and encourage everyone to visit the state for Stonewall 50 and WorldPride 2019. Over the past year, in partnership with the organizers of WorldPride 2019 and Stonewall 50 (NYC Pride/Heritage of Pride), I LOVE NY has been active at Pride events across the globe to promote travel to the event and the state. A targeted print and digital advertising campaign has been launched, promoting special WorldPride events happening across the state. More information on I LOVE NY LGBT, including the WorldPride 2019 Travel Guide, is available online.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “The WorldPride Ambassadors competition is the perfect opportunity for New Yorkers from across the state to showcase the best we have to offer as we extend an invitation to LGBTQ travelers from around the world.”

New York State Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, “I LOVE NY proudly invites the world to experience this summer’s Stonewall 50 commemoration by joining the festivities in New York City and throughout the state. With events like Pride on the Beach in Long Island, Pride at the Falls in Niagara Falls, and many other places in between, WorldPride offers the perfect opportunity for LGBTQ visitors to plan a dream New York State vacation, and we are excited that the WorldPride Ambassadors will help spread the message.”

Heritage of Pride Managing Director Chris Frederick said, “In June we will be welcoming the world to New York State for what will be the largest LGBTQ event in modern history. By working with New York State to identify these dynamic and inspiring WorldPride ambassadors, we hope to showcase the wide array of diversity that makes us proud to call ourselves New Yorkers.”

Throughout his time in office, Gov. Cuomo has been a national leader in championing LGBTQ rights. In 2011, New York passed the historic Marriage Equality Act and sent a message to the nation that it was time to end one of society’s greatest inequities. In 2015, Go. Cuomo implemented regulations affirming that all transgender individuals are protected under the State’s Human Rights Law, and ensured that all public and private employers, housing providers, businesses, creditors and others knew that discrimination against transgender persons is unlawful and will not be tolerated in New York State. Last year, Gov. Cuomo nominated Paul Feinman to the state’s highest court — the New York Court of Appeals — where he became the first openly gay person to serve on the court.

Earlier this year, Gov. Cuomo signed into law the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act and legislation banning the deplorable practice of conversion therapy, signifying a landmark victory for the LGBTQ community. Furthering protections and equality for New York’s LGBTQ community, the passage of GENDA prohibits employers, educational institutions, landlords, creditors and others from discriminating against individuals based on gender identity or expression, and makes offenses committed on the basis of gender identity or expression hate crimes under New York State law.

Additionally, Gov. Cuomo has committed to making New York the first state in the nation to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic and strengthened health care and insurance regulations to protect transgender New Yorkers.

In 2013, he launched the I LOVE NY LGBT tourism initiative to make an invitation through advertising, social media and experiential marketing to the $70 billion LGBTQ domestic travel segment to discover the attractions and activities of New York State. Last year, the governor opened New York’s official monument honoring the LGBTQ community, including those lost in the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016, and all victims of hate, intolerance and violence. The memorial, designed by artist Anthony Goicolea, is located at the western edge of Greenwich Village, in Hudson River Park.

Gov. Cuomo has also made investments in the tourism industry throughout New York State, generating historic levels of visitation and direct spending, his office said. New York welcomed a record 243.8 million visitors in 2017 who spent $67.6 billion, supporting a total economic impact of more than $100 billion for the fourth straight year. Tourism is now the state’s third largest employer, responsible for 938,800 jobs annually.

Official events for the month-long June celebration are listed online and ticket sales are now open. Some of the activities include a Pride march, human rights conference, Pridefest and Stonewall 50th Anniversary Commemoration, in addition to tours, exhibits and more.

European Gay Ski Week is a sponsor of the event with Masterbeat presenting One World. Entertainment includes an opening party, tea dance, main event and closing party. Limited VIP passes can be purchased in a pre-sale for $549 online.

Host hotel for the event is the Wyndham New York and reservations can be made online.


Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.