A gay HIV-positive politician has just been elected leader of New York City Council

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“I am incredibly honoured by the confidence you have placed in me.”

US politician Corey Johnson has made history this week by becoming the first HIV-positive person to be elected leader of New York City Council.

He replaces Melissa Mark-Viverito as Speaker of the council, which happens to be the second most powerful elected position in the city – besides the mayor.

After the vote was revealed, Johnson said: “We believe in New York where no one is targeted simply because of who they are – Muslim New Yorkers, immigrants, the undocumented, African Americans, Jewish New Yorkers, transgender New Yorkers. We must reject hate in all its forms and stand united against bigotry and racism.”

He added: “If we become unmoored and lose our way, we need only listen to the voices of those we represent to correct our course. At this time, 32 years ago, in this very chamber, the city council considered legislation that would finally outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, employment and public accommodations.

“As the AIDS epidemic was ravaging the gay community, supporters and opponents of the bill engaged in a long and bitter fight in this very chamber. Opponents said the bill would lead to societal acceptance of the LGBT community. And guess what? They were right.

“Let us continue to take on the important issues that may be considered controversial today but will be indesputable tomorrow. Let us continue to use the power of this body to be the voice for the voiceless.”

“I am incredibly honoured by the confidence you have placed in me.”

Congratulations Corey!

Related: Republicans change 400-year-old rule to avoid calling trans politician Danice Roem a woman.

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