Tonko and local LGBT activists celebrate victories

July 1, 2016 GMT

ALBANY - U.S. Rep Paul Tonko and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan gathered with members of Albany’s LGBT community Monday to discuss some recent victories as well as challenges that lay ahead.

“Everyone is grieving. We’re grieving now,” said Gabby Santos, director of LGBT health services at In Our Own Voices.

Michael Weidrich, executive director and CEO of the Pride Center of the Capital Region, noted that group members were dismayed to hear that LGBT people in Orlando were largely prevented from donating blood in the wake of the shootings due to decades-old federal health regulations regarding blood transfusions from gay people.

Tonic, an Amsterdam Democrat, noted that he’s a co-sponsor of amendments to the 1964 Civil Rights Act that would add protections to LGBT Americans.