THE BRONX — Bronx City Councilman James Vacca came out as gay on Twitter on Friday, and the response so far has been overwhelmingly positive.
"After talking w/ my friends & family I've decided to come out publicly as a gay man," Vacca tweeted. "Now back to the Golden Girls!"
Vacca downplayed the importance of the announcement in a statement, saying that he wanted his family and constituents to share in this part of his life but did not want to make a huge deal out of it.
"I don't want a spectacle or media event," he said. "Instead I just want your respect as another human being."
Vacca joined the City Council in 2006 and represents District 13 in The Bronx, which covers neighborhoods including Morris Park and Pelham Bay. He is the chairman of the council's technology committee.
The council's LGBT Caucus, which aims to promote LGBT rights and includes Vacca's fellow Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres, said in a statement that they were "incredibly proud" of Vacca and described him as "a strong champion of LGBT rights."
"Coming out is never easy — even in 2016 — and we greatly admire Jimmy for his courage," the members said. "We wish him much happiness.”
Vacca also received an outpouring of support from other elected officials. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. described the announcement as "an incredible moment for a very dear friend," and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he was "honored to know you and stand with you."
"People from all aspects of my life have been reaching out," Vacca said in a statement. "I'm grateful for their response, which has been beyond anything I ever expected."
.@JamesVacca13 This is an incredible moment for a very dear friend. Congratulations Councilman!— Ruben Diaz Jr. (@rubendiazjr) January 22, 2016
.@JamesVacca13 I’m honored to know you and stand with you.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 22, 2016
It turns out they are both big fans of Bea Arthur as Dorothy.