What to Know
- City Council members voted to dissolve a subcommittee chaired by Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. after the lawmaker made anti-gay comments
- During a Spanish language radio interview, Diaz said City Hall was “controlled by the homosexual community"
- The city council’s LGBT caucus called for him to resign and his own son, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, tweeted for him to apologize
City Council members on Wednesday voted to dissolve a subcommittee chaired by Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. — days after Diaz claimed City Hall was “controlled by the homosexual community.”
The council voted 45 to 1 to dissolve the Subcommittee on For-Hire Vehicles, with three abstentions.
“This is not something we do lightly,” Speaker Corey Johnson said Wednesday. “Given how we’ve evolved as a society, where things that in the past were overlooked or tolerated, that’s not the case anymore.”
Johnson and other lawmakers called for an apology after Diaz made the remarks in an interview on a Spanish language radio show. Johnson, who is openly gay, initially refrained from calling for Diaz’ resignation, but later said he’d changed his mind, calling the councilman’s comments “totally unacceptable.”
LGBT leaders say this comment is minor compared to his history of anti-gay statements, including vocal opposition to issues like same-sex marriage.
In his own statement about Diaz’ remarks, Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer recalled feeling “alone” and “powerless” when he realized he was he was gay as a teen, saying he “started cutting school and spent entire days on the roof of our apartment building in Astoria.”
“For two years, I prayed every night asking God to not make me gay, sometimes crying myself to sleep,” he said. “Deeply depressed and closeted, I would stand at the edge of that roof and think about whether or not it was better to die than to be a gay man."
Van Bramer also recalled hearing someone on television saying that “all gay men would die of AIDS before they were 30.”
“That’s why these comments by Council Member Diaz are so hurtful and damaging,” Van Bramer said. “We have fought and struggled and yes, died for a few seats at the table. Only to be attacked for having too much power.”
“Today, somewhere in NYC a young queer kid is wondering if it’s better to die or be themselves,” he went on to say. “I don’t want them to internalize Council Member Diaz’ words.”
Diaz himself didn’t show up to Wednesday’s meeting and did not return News 4’s requests for comment.
His office said he plans to rally with supporters outside his office in the Bronx on Thursday.