NEW YORK—Today, Senator Brad Hoylman put notorious anti-LGBTQ pastor Franklin Graham on notice: treat all COVID-19 patients equally at the new medical tents his non-profit organization set up in Central Park. Given Graham’s long history of homophobic comments, Hoylman also called on the City of New York and the Mount Sinai hospital network to monitor this field hospital to ensure there are no victims of discrimination.
“COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, and neither should Franklin Graham. It’s unacceptable that a New Yorker infected with COVID-19 could be subjected to discriminatory treatment from an organization whose leader calls us ‘immoral’ and ‘detestable.’
“Today I’m calling on Franklin Graham to publicly assure LGBTQ New Yorkers that they will receive the same treatment as anyone else at the Central Park field hospital. The City of New York and the Mount Sinai hospital network must monitor conditions closely at Graham’s facility and ensure every single LGBTQ patient is treated fairly. We cannot abandon our moral compass in the middle of a pandemic.
“Sadly, beggars can’t be choosers: New York needs every ventilator we can get. But homophobic pastor Franklin Graham and his field hospital operation in Central Park must guarantee all LGBTQ patients with COVID-19 are treated with dignity and respect.
“We’ll be watching.”
New Yorkers are encouraged to contact the NYC Commission of Human Rights at 718-722-3131 or Senator Hoylman’s office at 212-633-8052 with any reports of discrimination
Graham has a long history of homophobic and transphobic remarks. He’s called LGBTQ activists “immoral,” said being gay or trans is “detestable,” and even claimed Satan is behind the fight for equal rights. Graham’s nonprofit, Samaritan’s Purse, is setting up a massive field hospital in Central Park.
LGBTQ New Yorkers already experience health disparities compared to the general population, including higher rates of HIV, cancer and respiratory health issues. This means many LGBTQ New Yorkers have weaker immune systems or pre-existing conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
In the past few weeks, New York City's LGBTQ community has experienced the heartbreaking loss of prominent LGBTQ figures such as trans activist Lorena Borjas, legal advocate Richard Weber and playwright Terrence McNally—all of whom passed away after being infected with COVID-19.