Updated June 14

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced the creation of a new Office of LGBTQ+ Advancement Wednesday, saying the city has a vital leadership role to play when it comes to safeguarding LGBTQ+ rights.

"Even as we've made great strides in the last 50 years, there's a growing movement to strip away rights that the queer community has fought and waited so long for," Wu said at a press conference, citing the recent uptick in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation nationwide.

"The pursuit of justice cannot fall only to those impacted most directly by injustice, because the strength and safety of all of our our communities is our collective responsibility," she added. "Boston's LGBTQ+ community deserves an office that affirms and uplifts and defends the safety of all, the opportunities and the dreams of all. This office should connect them to services and resources, advocate, and evolve alongside our community."

At present, Boston relies on an LGBTQ+ liaison based in the Office of Neighborhood Services to conduct community outreach.

The current liaison, Quincey J. Roberts Sr., called the new framework a welcome sign of increased institutional commitment.

“I’m proud that the city’s work on behalf of this community will expand beyond the liaison role to a full department that is more [representative] of the entire LGBTQ+ community,” Roberts said. “There is an African proverb that says 'many hands make light work.' … Boston, let’s continue to be bold, and let’s continue to work.”

Adrianna Boulin, the director of community impact and engagement at Fenway Health and one of several advocates in attendance Wednesday, echoed that sentiment.

“There is so much work that still needs to be done in the LGBTQ+ community — health inequities, disproportionate impacts on BIPOC people, persistent challenges faced by our youth and our elders, and systemic barriers that require focus and attention at the city level,” Boulin said.

While funding for the new office has yet to be formalized, a posting for its executive director, who will be a member of the mayor’s Equity and Inclusion Cabinet, is currently posted on the city’s website. At Wednesday’s event, Wu said she’s optimistic that the requisite funding will be provided in the next city budget.

“We are putting forward this proposal in the upcoming city budget, and this is also an initiative … that city councilors have been pushing for to be included in the first version of the budget,” Wu said.

Several councilors spoke in favor of Wu’s proposal Wednesday, including Ruthzee Louijeune, Michael Flaherty, Erin Murphy, Kenzie Bok, Tania Fernandes Anderson, and Liz Breadon, the first openly gay woman elected to the Boston City Council.

“I think we’ve come a long way,” Breadon said. “There’s a lot more work to do.”

If funded, the new office would resemble similar offices in Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

This article was updated to correct the spelling of Quincey J. Roberts Sr.'s first name.