LGBTQ+ Graphic

On Monday, the Westchester County Board of Legislators celebrated LGBTQ+ Pride Month with an in-person ceremony recognizing the efforts of two inspiring community leaders: Sam Gomez and Daniel Longhurst.

Chair Vedat Gashi (D – New Castle, Somers, Yorktown) convened the observance noting, “While we commemorate Pride throughout the month with fun and exuberant festivals, in talking to LGBTQ+ community leaders there is much that concerns them. There is a growing sense that their community is under siege, with new legislation aimed at eliminating their rights and their visibility, by those trying to silence their identities in schools, by the banning of books and the disapproval of their cultural expression. The focus now is creating solidarity against those trying to erase their very existence, after many years of progress and forward movement. And so we join them in solidarity and will be vigilant in protecting the freedoms they have fought so hard win.”

“Tonight we honor two outstanding Westchester residents who work, in their individual spheres, to protect and promote LGBTQ rights and identity throughout the County.”

Legislator Damon Maher (D – Eastchester, New Rochelle, Tuckahoe) presented the first proclamation, noting, “Celebrating LGBTQ Pride month has a very personal connection for me. With beloved members of my immediate and extended family over generations being part of the LGBTQ community, it would be unthinkable to not support them and others with differences.”

“So it is with great pride that I recognize New Rochelle resident, Sam Gomez, Director of Diversity & Inclusion and the LGBTQ Community Liaison for the City of New Rochelle, for his extraordinary efforts in New Rochelle, and throughout this County. Sam is also one of three Co-Founders of New Rochelle LGBTQ+ Pride, which aims to bring vital programming not just during Pride month, but throughout the year.”

Mr. Gomez thanked the Legislator saying, “It is a great and humbling honor to be standing here today. I am a child of New Rochelle, of Westchester. I left Peru at 13 years old and moved to New Rochelle without speaking any English, without friends, and without most of my family. Westchester welcomed me with open arms. All the opportunities, access to services and programs that Westchester offered allowed me to become the person that is standing here today. So, thank you all for making this the kind of community a shy kid like me could succeed in such a way that I can now give back.”

The Board declared June 10, 2022 “Sam Gomez Day” in Westchester County.

Legislator Erika Pierce (D – Bedford, Lewisboro, Mt. Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers) presented the second proclamation saying, “I could not be more thrilled to be here today to honor Dan Longhurst, for all he does to create and foster affirming and safe learning environments, especially in communities where being LGBTQ+ is less safe.”

“As an openly gay, top-notch Physics teacher and advisor to John Jay High School’s Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA), Dan has a critical, positive impact on students’ lives, which by extension, improves their mental health, self –esteem and their academic outcomes, all outcomes you see with a truly excellent teacher and mentor.”

“Dan has additionally served as Co-Chair of The Lower Hudson Valley Chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). In that role, he organized and ran workshops with teachers and students across Westchester County and beyond - all aimed at helping schools become safer and more welcoming places for their students, no matter how they identify.”

Mr. Longhurst accepted the honor with these words, “From my work with GLSEN, I’ve learned that teachers and educators want to help but they lack the resources to help kids. From my work as the SAGA advisor, I’ve learned that queer kids need safe spaces to experience joy and be themselves genuinely without fear of judgment … the current state of the world has queer and trans kids under attack…they need our support!”

“It is my students’ bravery in being ‘out’ that inspires my work…I want to thank them because they are my heroes.”
The Board declared June 11, 2023 “Daniel Longhurst Day” in Westchester County.

Read the program for Monday night’s event at: