The revolutionary bookstore, café, and activist center known as BLUESTOCKINGS (172 Allen Street, 212-777-6028), a mainstay for forward-thinking, literary sapphists (among others), hosts readings, forums, film viewings, performances, and workshops daily. Step in for fair-trade eats or flip through over 2,000 of their titles while taking in the socially conscious environment.
EMPIRE STATE PRIDE AGENDA (212-627-0305, prideagenda.org) is perhaps New York State’s most productive advocacy group geared at protecting the rights of the queer community on political and legislative levels. They welcome volunteers to lobby, organize, educate, and fundraise.
THE LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY CENTER (208 West 13th Street, 212-620-7310), a home for innumerable organizations, programs, and meetings, is the community’s hub. Besides offering aid through Center Care (substance abuse, gender identity, and HIV/AIDS services), cultural series, and much more, they also host regular benefits, galas, and parties.
MICHAEL CALLEN-AUDRE LORDE COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER (356 West 18th Street, 212-271-7200)—New York’s only facility specifically handling the medical needs of the LGBT community and those with HIV/AIDS—provides nondiscriminatory primary health care, including dentistry. Accepting all types of health insurance as well as sliding-scale payment for the uninsured, the center promotes overall wellness and health education with teen outreach, counseling, support groups, and more.
The grassroots advocacy organization MARRIAGE EQUALITY OF NEW YORK (877-772-0089, marriageequalityny.org), a branch of Marriage Equality USA, is out to make same-sex marriage in our fair state a reality. The group has monthly meetings at the Center and is organizing a February “Civil Marriage Trail”—a trip to Canada for couples desiring to wed legally.
Working to obliterate discrimination toward transsexual, transgender, and gender-variant New Yorkers, the NEW YORK ASSOCIATION FOR GENDER RIGHTS ADVOCACY (212-675-3288, ext. 266, nyagra.tripod.com) played a large role in amending the city’s human rights law to include gender identity and expression. Membership is $20 annually.
Among the largest gay and lesbian groups in the city, NEW YORK FRONT RUNNERS (212-724-9700, frny.org)—a running, track-and-field, triathlon, and cycling club—is staffed solely by volunteers. Participants are granted access to coaching, weekly indoor and outdoor training runs with occasional post-workout dinners, along with socials and annual trips.
NEW YORK GALLERY TOURS (212-946-1548, nygallerytours.com), led by Kean University professor Rafael Risemberg, offers monthly walking tours for art enthusiasts looking to view exhibits by queer painters and photographers. Frequently visiting Chelsea, the two-hour tour has included in past visits the works of Danica Phelps, Wolfgang Tillmans, Ross Bleckner, and Isaac Julien.
Co-ed participants in the NEW YORK GAY HOCKEY ASSOCIATION (212-252-4351, nycgayhockey.org) are divided into teams from the novice to the highly skilled at the Chelsea Piers Sky Rink. All games are free and each player may join in international LGBT tournaments held throughout the country.
SERENDIPITY DATES (212-591-2503, serendipitydates.com) is an online service that gives you the option to register by selecting specific LGBT events, mate preferences, and a number of dates at differing intervals. With up to 12 rendezvous in one evening, you might find true love, plus 5 to 10 percent of the proceeds benefits LGBT causes.