GO Proudly Presents: 100 Women We Love, Class Of 2021

Carmen Neely

Carmen Neely Courtesy of Carmen Neely

Harlem Pride was one of the first LGBTQ+ organizations in Harlem, but “now, there are many,” says Harlem Pride co-founder, President, and CEO Carmen Neely. As a community-focused leader, Neely understands the importance of visibility to the LGBTQ+ community; her own presence has been a force for change. “In the community, being out exposes larger society to the beauty that is being a Black Lesbian,” she tells GO. “They’re able to see that we are everywhere. … They can see we’re just as human as they are.” In addition to co-founding Harlem Pride, she helps plan for the Harlem SGL•LGBTQ Center and is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and other Harlem-based LGBTQ+ organizations. She is also a co-chair of the LGBTQ Committee of the Mid-Manhattan Branch of the NAACP, a Co-Chair of the Black & Latino LGBTQ Coalition, a board member of the Harlem SGL•LGBTQ Center, and a Co-Chair of NYC Pride & Power. Additionally, she has recently begun a new position as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of The Center For Black Equity, based in Washington D.C., aimed at promoting a multinational LGBTQ+ network to improve health and wellness opportunities, economic empowerment, and equal rights. But her wide-ranging work doesn’t stop Neely from seeing the impact her life has on the small scale as well. “Even within my family, my visibility has made it easier for the next generation of my LGBTQ family members to be loved, respected, and valued,” she says. —NT

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