January 3, 2018 at 2:32 pm PDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Corey Johnson elected speaker of NYC Council

Corey Johnson, birth certificate, New York City, gay news, Washington Blade

New York City Councilman Corey Johnson on Jan. 3, 2018, was elected speaker of the legislative body. He is the first person with HIV to hold the position. (Photo courtesy of Corey Johnson)

A gay member of the New York City Council on Wednesday was elected speaker of the legislative body.

Corey Johnson, 35, is the first person with HIV elected speaker, which is the second most powerful elected official in city government after the mayor.

“We believe in New York where no one is targeted simply because of who they are — Muslim New Yorkers, immigrants, the undocumented, African Americans, Jewish New Yorkers, transgender New Yorkers,” said Johnson in a speech he gave after the vote. “We must reject hate in all its forms and stand united against bigotry and racism.”

Johnson was born and raised in Massachusetts.

He first rose to prominence in 2000 when the New York Times published a story about him playing on his high school’s football team. Johnson worked as former New York City Public Advocate Mark Green’s political director during his unsuccessful 2006 state attorney general campaign.

Johnson has written for Towleroad. He is also a former GLAAD staffer who has spoken publicly about his struggles with alcohol and drugs.

Johnson has represented the Council’s 3rd District — which includes Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea and West Village neighborhoods — since 2014. He succeeded former Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2013.

Former Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito proceeded Johnson.

Former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito attends an International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia march in Havana on May 13, 2017. Corey Johnson has been elected to succeed Mark-Viverito in the post. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade.

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