LGBTQ Women Vying for Council Nab 21 in ‘21 Nods
Gender diversity political group ranks candidates ahead of next year’s primary elections
BY MATT TRACY
A grassroots group aiming to bring
much-needed gender diversity to the
New York City Council in next year’s
elections unveiled dozens of new endorsements
on October 19 — including some of
the out LGBTQ women running for city offi ce.
The group 21 in ‘21, formed in 2017 with the
purpose of adding more women to a City Council
that currently includes only 12, used rankchoice
voting to endorse a bipartisan collection
of candidates — meaning their top choice was
listed fi rst, followed by other candidates in descending
order of preference.
City residents will be voting in ranked-choice
format in next year’s primaries and special
elections. Any races in which one person does
not win an outright majority will face additional
rounds of vote counting, with candidates with
the lowest number of fi rst choice rankings eliminated
each round and voters who chose them
reassigned to their second place choices until a
candidate gains a majority.
Three out City Council hopefuls were included
among the 33 candidates that received
a fi rst-choice endorsement from 21 in ‘21, which
spells women as womxn to be more inclusive:
District 22 candidate Tiffany Cabán of Queens,
District 29 candidate Lynn Schulman, also
of Queens, and District 35 candidate Crystal
Hudson of Brooklyn.
Out candidates who landed second-place endorsement
rankings were District Nine candidate
Kristin Richardson Jordan and District 15
candidate Elisa Crespo.
While most candidates are anticipating next
June’s primary races, Crespo is fi rst competing
in a special election to replace out gay lawmaker
Ritchie Torres, who is on his way to Congress,
and if she wins that competition she will again
have to square off in the June Democratic primary
election in order to get re-elected.
Although there are multiple trans candidates
running for City Council next year, Crespo’s
looming special election — likely to be held in
the early months of 2021 — provides her with a
chance to make stand-alone history as the fi rst
out trans candidate elected to the City Council
months before other trans candidates face off in
The 21 in ‘21 effort is similar to a campaign
to elect queer candidates called LGBTQ in
2021, which is intended to ensure queer representation
at City Hall next year when the entire
LGBT Caucus — which consists of Torres,
Speaker Corey Johnson of Manhattan, Jimmy
Van Bramer and Daniel Dromm of Queens, and
Carlos Menchaca of Brooklyn — will be termlimited.
In fact, the 2021 elections present a prime opportunity
for the City Council to increase gender
and racial diversify in an LGBT Caucus that
is entirely made up of cisgender men. Other out
trans candidates include Jordana Lusk, who is
challenging incumbent Keith Powers in Manhattan’s
District 4, and Alejanda Caraballo, a
candidate in Brooklyn’s 35th District who last
year became the fi rst out trans individual appointed
to a community board in the borough.
In addition to out queer women, there are
also out men as well as non-binary candidates
— like drag artist Marti Gould Cummings, running
in Manhattan’s District 7 — eyeing City
Council seats next year.
According to 21 in ‘21, candidates qualifi ed
for endorsement by identifying as a womxn,
registering with the state’s Board of Elections,
and establishing “campaign viability” by meeting
or planning to meet the matching funds requirement.
The candidates were interviewed by
21 in ‘21 leaders and subsequently voted on by
the group’s membership.
“This was a long and thoughtful process, and
all of the womxn who applied, with their bold
leadership skills and their proven advocacy
track records, certainly did not make our endorsement
decisions easy,” 21 in ‘21 executive
board chair Amelia Adams said in a written
statement. “We know having too many strong,
qualifi ed applicants is a good problem to have,
and we are confi dent in our slate’s ability to
transform New York.”
The endorsement process, however, drew
Crespo’s relegation to a second-choice slot
sparked a tweet from Caraballo, who asserted
that the group should be doing more to help out
trans women running for offi ce.
“Spelling the word womxn that way while
not supporting the openly trans NYC Council
candidate @elisacresponyc in BX 15 is what I’ve
come to expect from cis allies,” Caraballo wrote
in a tweet October 20. “Word spellings are empty
gestures if you don’t actually put in the work
to uplift trans people of color.”
Nonetheless, the three fi rst-choice endorsed
candidates turned to Twitter to thank 21 in ‘21
for throwing support behind their campaigns.
“I’m honored to receive @21in21NYC’s endorsement!
With 12 women in the @NYCCouncil
& only fi ve LGBTQ members (all term-limited),
and as an unapologetic Black, queer, GNC
woman, I am thankful for orgs like 21 in ‘21
who know that representation matters,” HudSCHULMAN2021.
Out queer City Council candidate Tiffany Cabán is one of three out
LGBTQ women to secure an endorsement from 21 in ‘21, the group
working to elect more women as city lawmakers.
Crystal Hudson of Brooklyn’s District 35 could become the fi rst out
LGBTQ Black woman elected to the City Council.
COM son wrote.
Queens District 29 candidate Lynn Schulman was among three out
candidates who won fi rst place endorsements from 21 in ’21.
➤ 21 IN ‘21, continued on p.28
October 22 - November 4,14 2020 | GayCityNews.com