A fierce advocate for social and reproductive justice — and specifically for the bisexual and transgender communities — Bryan John Ellicott was born and raised in Staten Island, where he lives. A longtime activist, he came to wide public attention when he filed suit against the city Department of Parks and Recreation for a 2013 incident at Joseph H. Lyons Pool in Staten Island, when, at the age of 23, he was ordered to leave the men’s locker room as he was changing his T-shirt. The pool staffer who approached him explained someone had complained that he shouldn’t be there. Ellicott asked to speak to a supervisor, but two other staff members backed up the first one, telling him he needed to either use the women’s locker room or leave.
“I was humiliated and embarrassed for being singled out,” Ellicott said when the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund filed his suit, citing the 2002 city human rights law barring discrimination based on gender identity and expression. The city settled in 2015.
Ellicott has testified on numerous occasions before the New York City Council on legislation affecting the LGBTQ community, including the inclusion of a self-designated gender marker on the city’s IDNYC cards, the need for more comprehensive sex education in the public schools, the push to eliminate the tampon tax, and the requirement that all single-use bathrooms in public places be made gender-neutral.
At a press conference announcing enactment of three new local laws requiring the city and its contractors to collect more specific data on who uses their services, including whether they are LGBTQ, Ellicott said, “Some of our Staten Island elected officials like to say there aren’t a lot of LGBT people in their districts. Now we’ll be able to say, ‘Yes you do, and here’s where they live.’”
Ellicott recently joined the staff of Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, an out gay Brooklyn Democrat, and is responsible for digital and social media coordination. Prior to joining Menchaca’s office, Ellicott worked at #VoteProChoice, a group working to elect officials who support women’s reproductive freedom.
The vice president of the Staten Island Democratic Association, Ellicott is also on the Vice President of the Stonewall Democrats of New York City and a board member of BiNet- USA, the nation’s oldest advocacy organization for bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer-identified, and unlabeled people.