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Despite national uptick in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, Long Island fundraiser shatters record

Synchronized swimmers at the event.
Andrew Werner
Synchronized swimmers at the event.

The Hetrick Martin Institute has raised more than $600,000 to support summer programming for LGBTQIA+ youth through its annual summer fundraiser, School's Out.

The event was held in the Hamptons.

HMI Chief Strategy Officer Soraya Elcock said kids need expanded services in the summer while they are out of school.

“They need a sense of community and identity, so they can see other young people who are just like them,” Elcock said. “So in the summer, you continue the critical services, but you also expand to more community level intervention group activities.”

Benjamin Dixon, a real estate broker with the Mackay Dixon Team, co-chaired the event.

“I think it really just reminded everyone there that whether living in Manhattan or New York or the Hamptons, there's a certain bubble that we're living in and safety that we're living in, and that we actually have the capacity and means to help expand that, and help expand that safety to more people within our community,” Dixon said.

The fundraiser was held as attacks against the LGBTQ+ community intensify across the country.

New York was one of only five states and territories in the U.S. that did not have a law aimed against the LGTBQ+ community in their legislature this year. Just under 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced across the country.

The five states and territories that did not have any were New York, Illinois, Delaware, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.