During an impassioned speech at Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth‘s (LIGALY) 20th anniversary gala in Farmingdale on Friday, organization founder David Kilmnick announced that they would be opening a new center in Sag Harbor this July.
Kilmnick noted that LIGALY was inspired to open an East End center for GLBT youth after gay East Hampton High School student David Hernandez committed suicide at age 16 in October. “What he faced in his church and local community was rampant homophobia,” the LIGALY founder said during his speech, adding, “There was no one for him to turn to.”
Kilmnick said the new center would first be situated in the Old Whalers Church in Sag Harbor, but that would springboard into a state-of-the-art facility, once enough money is raised. “This is something we must do for everyone out on the East End,” he said. “This is something we must do for David Hernandez.”
Kilmnick‘s speech was followed by guest speakers and honorees, including Congressman Steve Israel, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, two teens from LIGALY and Southampton resident—and champion against the Defense of Marriage Act—Edie Windsor.
During the dinner portion of the event, Kilmnick shared more about his plans for LIGALY in the Hamptons. “Twenty years we’ve been in the East End schools, but I think opening the center is going to be a new frontier for the East End community,” he said. “There are so many fundraisers on the East End for gay causes, but none of it stays in the community.” So far, Kilmnick said he has secured $60,000 of the $1 million needed to open a fully staffed and functional LIGALY center, and he is very optimistic that his latest dream will come to fruition.
“Failure is not an option,” Kilmnick said.
Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY) is a bi-county (Nassau and Suffolk) not-for-profit organization providing education, advocacy, and social support services to Long Island‘s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) youth and young adults, and all youth, young adults, and their families for whom sexuality, sexual identity, gender identity, and HIV/AIDS are an issue. Our goals are to empower GLBT youth, advocate for their diverse interests, and to educate society about them.