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  • Nic F. Anderson

NYC Mayor Backtracks Decision To Hire Fernando Cabrera After LGBTQ+ Community, Activists Speak Out

NYC Mayor Eric Adams was planning to hire Fernando Cabrera, a former Bronx Councilmember, to lead the Mayor’s Office of Community Health (previously known as ThriveNYC); however, he changed course after receiving backlash.

On Feb. 3, Politico New York reported that Adams was planning to hire Cabrera. Politico’s Sally Goldenberg and Amanda Eisenberg wrote the story. Goldenberg tweeted and said that three sources informed her that Cabrera “was absolutely selected” and “already met with employees at the agency he’s been considered for.”

Politicians, LGBTQ+ activists, and others have spoken out, demanding Adams choose a different candidate due to Cabrera’s documented anti-LGBTQ beliefs.

Equality New York wrote a letter to the mayor, urging him to choose a different candidate, and later started a petition to do the same.

The first publicly “out” NYC City Council speaker, Christine Quinn, tweeted, “This is a HORRIBLE/offensive idea! #LGBTQ people — particularly young people — suffer high levels of mental health issues/attempted suicide. Appointing a homophobe the head of Office of Community Mental Health will cost lives & is a slap in the face 2 the LGBTQ community. @NYCMayor.”

However, Adams has backtracked his choice.

“While we don’t typically comment on the appointments process before an official announcement, we want to be clear — the administration is not considering appointing Fernando Cabrera to this critical position,” Gay City news was told by a spokesperson for the mayor in a written statement.

Since the news broke that Cabrera will not be appointed, people have celebrated this decision.

​​The Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, an LGBTQ group, tweeted, “Thanks to all who spoke up in opposition to his taking on this role & to @ericadamsfornyc for hearing us!”

“Appointing Cabrera will do incredible harm to the LGBTQI community. Our queer youth suffer higher levels of mental health struggles and attempts at suicide. Having him as head of the OMH is the wrong move & Mayor Adams must not move forward w/ this appointment.” @MartiGCummings,” Equality New York Tweeted.

In the past, Cabrera praised Uganda’s homophobic government and traveled to the country after the nation passed the “Kill the Gays” measure (the country later dropped the death penalty and instituted long prison sentences fo same-sex sexual conduct).

In a YouTube video from 2014, he said “godly people are in the government” [in Uganda] and commended the country for standing up against “threats” by the U.S. to stop funding if Uganda’s homophobic actions continued. There are no public documents that the U.S. ever threatened this.

Cabrera has attended rallies with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a known far-right and anti-gay legal groups, and gave speeches at ADF-sponsored events. In another 2014-dated YouTube video, Cabrera praised ADF.

“We need to have a new generation of young people that are going to raise the banner for family values, for those things that have made our nation great and the values Alliance Defending Freedom has been fighting for,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera has voted against allowing people to change their gender designation on their birth certificates but later voted in favor of creating an advisory board to implement the gender marker law.

There is no news on any new candidates.

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