Former New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane, the first openly HIV-positive official in the US, has been announced as the latest board member of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), which aims to end violence in the US city.
Duane, a longtime advocate against violence and a stalwart supporter of LGBT rights and issues, joins the 33-year-old organization which “empowers LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and supports survivors of violence through counseling and advocacy.”
AVP praised the senator in a statement announcing his appointment, saying it shows the group’s commitment to the LGBT community in the city.
“AVP’s Board of Directors is a group of smart, committed, passionate people who believe deeply in our mission to end violence. We are honored and proud to have Senator Duane and Scott Hernandez join our Board,” said Sharon Stapel, AVP’s Executive Director. “Senator Duane has long been a champion of ending violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected people and we know that he will use his broad and deep expertise to create safety for all New Yorkers.”
According to AVP, Senator Duane was in the New York State Senate from 1999 to 2012.
He was the nation’s first openly HIV-positive person elected to office and the only openly gay member of the New York State Senate.
“Senator Duane successfully passed several laws critical to AVP’s constituents, including the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) (2002), the Hate Crimes Protection Act, “Manny’s Law,” which requires hospitals to disclose to indigent patients the availability of state-sponsored funds for health care costs and marriage equality legislation. He is currently working with Eve Ensler on her One Billion Rising campaign.
“I am excited and honored to be asked to join the Board of Directors of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) — an amazing, effective and critically important organization for the LGBTQ and HIV affected communities in New York City, and indeed, a valued and accessible resource organization for all New Yorkers and many other agencies throughout New York,” the statement said.
“AVP is known and respected throughout the United State and is held in particularly high esteem in New York City and State among advocates and law enforcement institutions,” said Senator Duane.
“AVP is also known to be a strong and respected voice in Washington D.C. generally and is greatly valued by officials in both the legislative and executive branches of the federal government. I am looking forward to helping AVP continue to provide its services and advocacy and I am committed to being the best possible resource I can be for this amazing organization.”