Amit Bagga Looks to Replace Van Bramer in the Council
If elected, Bagga would be the city’s fi rst out LGBTQ South Asian councilmember
BY TAT BELLAMY-WALKER
Out queer Queens City
Council candidate Amit
Singh Bagga, an immigrant
former Census outreach administrator,
is running to represent the
26th Council District in Woodside,
Sunnyside, Long Island City, and
Astoria — and he could make history
as the fi rst LGBTQ South
Asian person elected to the New
York City Council.
With more than a decade of political
experience, Bagga is putting
a focus on communities of color
and marginalized New Yorkers.
“To truly achieve the racial and
immigrant and gender justice that
we are all fi ghting for collectively,
we need to achieve economic justice,”
Bagga said. “For that to happen,
we need to have a city that is
truly shaping its economy to work
for all New Yorkers.”
If elected, Bagga said he would
also be the fi rst out LGBTQ South
Asian elected offi cial in the nation.
“For me, being a person of color,
being a queer person, being the
son of immigrants, always being
an outsider fi ghting for respect
and relevance through room after
room not designed for someone like
me — it was really important to me
that I brought the fi ght on behalf
of South Asians, on behalf of queer
folks, to the City Council.”
Bagga faces a tight race with
multiple opponents, including activist
Julie Won and organizer
Lorenzo Brea, in a campaign for a
seat held by out gay term-limited
City Councilmember Jimmy Van
Bramer, who is running for Queens
Bagga is known for leading outreach
for the 2020 Census and
also helped establish IDNYC, the
city’s municipal identifi cation program
that can be used for banking
and allows patrons to self-declare
their gender identity. He has also
worked on efforts to bring paid sick
leave for New Yorkers.
To date, Bagga leads the campaign
fi nance effort with an estimated balance
of $122,804, topping Won, who
Amit Singh Bagga is running in the 26th City Council District.
has $113,935, and Brea, who has
$111,395, according to the New York
City Campaign Finance Board.
Bagga supports the full decriminalization
of sex work and wants
to bring paid sick leave to workers
in the industry. He is also calling
for a cut of at least $1 billion from
the NYPD, the closing of the Rikers
Island jail (In 2019 the City Council
voted to close Rikers and replace it
with smaller jails by 2026), and an
end to solitary confi nement (The
HALT Solitary Confi nement Act,
curtailing the use of solitary to 15
days, was approved by the State
Legislature in April).
Additionally, Bagga supports
building a robust healthcare infrastructure
immigrants, gig workers, and individuals
ineligible for Medicaid.
“This is a district where there’s
no safe place to give birth,” Bagga
said. “There’s no place where queer
folks or communities of color can go
get culturally and linguistically responsive
healthcare that is publicly
funded and fully accessible. We don’t
have any hospitals in this district. It
is very imperative that we expand
publicly funded health care.”
Bagga’s professional journey followed
a diffi cult experience as a
teenager. He came out and learned
early on the weight of anti-LGBTQ
stigma, driven by homophobic bullying
COURTESY OF AMIT SINGH BAGGA’S CAMPAIGN
he faced while in school. That
facilitated a struggle between his
queer and South Asian identity.
“It felt as though I was being
ripped apart, that I had to be two
completely different people if I
wanted to survive,” Bagga said.
He credits his family for opening
their heart and doing the internal
work to shape his perspective. Now he
knows he can bring his entire self to
the world — not just parts in isolation.
“Today, I feel very deeply and
strongly connected to both of these
identities,” he said. “They’re deeply
Even in the face of Bagga’s accomplishments,
he knows all too
well what it’s like to be “sidelined
and written off” just for occupying
space as a queer person of color.
He wants LGBTQ people to remind
themselves of their worth.
“You need all the support around
you from the outside,” he said. “But
the greatest source of strength that
you can ever attempt to cultivate is
WE’RE HERE TO HELP.
If you have been the victim of a crime, a scam, or illegal exploitation, you have
the right to seek justice, regardless of your immigration status. The Office of
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz is here to help.
We are committed to ensuring a safe and secure environment for our senior
citizens. If you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud or abuse, contact
our Elder Fraud Unit at 718-286-6578.
Housing and Worker Protection Bureau
If you or someone you know has been a victim of a housing scam or an unscrupulous
employer engaged in wage theft or not providing a safe workplace, call
the Housing and Worker Protection Bureau at 718-286-6673.
Hate Crimes Bureau
We are dedicated to the safety of all Queens residents, regardless of race, religion,
ethnicity or who they love. If you or someone you know has experienced
a hate or bias-motivated crime, call our Hate Crimes Bureau at 718-286-7010.
Domestic Violence Bureau
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, there are resources
available. Call the 24/7 Domestic Violence helpline at 718-286-4410.
You’ll have the option of connecting with legal or social services to help get
you to safety.
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