Corey Johnson, speaker of New York City Council

Corey Johnson, a gay man living with HIV, has been elected speaker of the New York City council this week.

Johnson, who is a democrat, was elected almost unanimously to the seat where he replaces outgoing speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Back in 2000, when Johnson was just a teenager, he created national news headlines when he came out as gay – at the time he was the captain of his high school football team.

In 2004 Johnson was diagnosed as HIV positive.

Since then Corey Johnson has been a regular contributor to both the mainstream press and the LGBT press pushing for equal rights and fighting inequality.

On accepting the role of speaker Mr Johnson said:

“At this time, 32 years ago, in this very chamber, the city council considered legislation that would finally outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, employment and public accomodations.

“As the AIDS epidemic was ravaging the gay community, supporters and opponents of the bill engaged in a long and bitter fight in this very chamber. Opponents said the bill would lead to societal acceptance of the LGBT community. And guess what? They were right.

“Let us continue to take on the important issues that may be considered controversial today but will be indesputable tomorrow. Let us continue to use the power of this body to be the voice for the voiceless.”

“I am incredibly honoured by the confidence you have placed in me.”

The news of Corey Johnson’s election to the role of Speaker follows just a few days after Donald Trump fired his whole advisory panel on HIV & AIDS.

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