LGBTQ Pride Flag to Be Raised Over State Capitol for First Time in History

New Exhibit – “Equality Will Never Be Silent” – Celebrates New York’s LGBTQ Community and Honors Impacts Made by LGBTQ New Yorkers


Exhibit to Include Portions of the International AIDS Memorial Quilt


See Photos of the Exhibit Here


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the opening of the LGBTQ Pride Month exhibit entitled “Equality Will Never Be Silent,” which celebrates the New York State LGBTQ community and recognizes the meaningful political, cultural and artistic impacts of 16 LGBTQ New Yorkers. The exhibit is located in the Governor’s Reception Room on the second floor of the New York State Capitol and will run through the summer. Additionally, the Governor announced that the LGBTQ pride flag will be raised over the state capitol for the first time in New York State history. More information on the exhibit can be found here.


“New York is home to trailblazing leaders in the LGBTQ rights movement who broke down barriers and never stopped fighting for full equality,” Governor Cuomo said. “Some of them were killed simply for being who they are – others changed the course of history arguing their case at the Supreme Court. This exhibit celebrates and honors these extraordinarily brave and talented people – and New York will always be grateful to them.” 


Alphonso B. David, Chief Counsel to the Governor, said, “There is no greater ally to the LGBTQ community than Governor Cuomo and I thank him for recognizing the work and leadership of these pioneers. New York has been a national leader of the LGBTQ rights movement since its inception, and Governor Cuomo’s administration has made unprecedented strides to ensure equal rights and protections for LGBTQ individuals. I am honored to be featured in this exhibit and remain steadfast in my commitment to bring visibility to, and support for, the LGBTQ rights movement.”


Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, “I am proud to be a member of Governor Cuomo’s administration as they continue to move the LGBTQ rights movement forward. As the stewards of the NYS Capitol we are pleased that we were able to create an exhibit here that will help showcase some of the strides that have been made and challenges that have been faced in the 50 years since Stonewall.”

Senator Brad Hoylman said, “Raising the pride flag over the capitol for the 50th anniversary of Stonewall is a monumental testament to New York’s role as a beacon of LGBTQ human rights. I’m extremely proud of the advances the Senate and Assembly have made on LGBTQ issues this legislative session working with Governor Cuomo, including passing a transgender human rights law, banning so-called gay conversion therapy, protecting homeless LGBTQ youth, and more. The pride flag will fly over our state capitol and represent the struggle, perseverance and hope for LGBTQ people that began at the Stonewall Inn 50 years ago and has spread across the entire world.”

Senator Tom Duane said, “New York State has a long and storied history of LGBTQ leaders that have fought tirelessly for a more equal and just Empire State. I thank Governor Cuomo for opening this exhibit in the capitol that recognizes the impact of these 16 community leaders and look forward to working with him to continue New York’s standing as a beacon of hope for all.”

Assemblymember Deborah Glick said, “I am so honored to be included in this exhibit highlighting significant achievements in New York State history on behalf of the LGBTQ community. While we are fortunate to work and live in a state that now supports the rights of LGBTQ people, and have much to celebrate, we must also continue to advocate for full equality wherever discrimination and harmful practices still exist. What a privilege to be in such good company in keeping that fight alive.”


The name of the exhibit stems from a quote by Harvey Milk, an incomparable leader featured within it who declared, “Hope will never be silent.” The majority of the display pays homage to some of the remarkable individuals whose persistence and influence have brought visibility to, and support for, the LGBTQ rights movement.


The exhibit features an interpretive panel chronicling the 1969 Stonewall uprising and a panel dedicated to the history of the Pride flag. It also honors the memories of three New Yorkers whose bias-motivated murders drove change and resulted in stronger protections for LGBTQ individuals.


New York State is also proud to display portions of the International AIDS Memorial Quilt. Four 12-foot sections, honoring those who lost their lives to AIDS-related complications, are included in this exhibit. The three Signature Squares displayed in the Capitol are from the International Rainbow Memorial Runs to Gay Games VI in Sydney Australia in 2002; Gay Games VIII in Cologne, Germany in 2010; and Gay Games 10 in Paris, France in 2018. The fourth section, on display in the Empire State Plaza concourse, was loaned by Barbara Martinez who helped found FundaciónMAROZO to help educate people about AIDS.


New York’s commitment to LGBTQ rights extends beyond groundbreaking legislation and initiatives. It also serves as a backdrop for productions that bring understanding and acceptance to audiences around the world. Set and produced in New York City, the exhibit also features a panel on the innovative series Pose, which made television history with the largest cast of transgender actors in series regular roles.


The following New Yorkers are also featured in the exhibit:


Arts and Culture


Alice Austen – A photographer who refused to conform to traditional societal and gender norms typical of her time.  

James Baldwin – A novelist, essayist, poet, and playwright, who wrote candidly about race and sexuality in America.


Harvey Fierstein – A performer, playwright, and voice actor who brought LGBTQ themes center stage.


Audre Lorde – A New York State Poet Laureate and scholar who spoke out against all forms of injustice.




Alphonso B. David – The first black man and the first openly gay man to serve as Chief Counsel to the Governor of New York State.  

Tom Duane – The first openly LGBTQ member, and first openly HIV-positive member, of the New York State Senate.


Hon. Paul G. Feinman – The first openly gay judge confirmed to the state’s highest court.  

Assemblymember Deborah Glick – The first openly LGBTQ member of the New York State Legislature.


Harvey Milk – One of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States.




Marsha P. Johnson – A pioneer of the LGBTQ rights movement who is said to have resisted police during the Stonewall uprising.


Roberta “Robbie” Kaplan – A New York City lawyer specializing in commercial and civil rights litigation who successfully represented Edie Windsor in her landmark United States Supreme Court case striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Larry Kramer – An Oscar-nominated writer and co-founder of ACT UP, whose commitment to HIV/AIDS awareness spans decades.


Sylvia Rivera – A Stonewall veteran and outspoken advocate for marginalized groups within the LGBTQ movement.

Vito Russo – An author, activist, and film scholar who helped found GLAAD and ACT UP.


Bayard Rustin – A founder of the A. Philip Randolph Institute and organizer of the 1963 March on Washington.


Edie Windsor – A New Yorker whose successful lawsuit against the federal government helped pave the way for legalizing same-sex marriage across the United States.