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Embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigns

The announcement comes a week after the release of a damning report that says he sexually harassed 11 women.

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Andrew Cuomo, gay news, Washington Blade
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers)

NEW YORK — Embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday resigned.

Cuomo announced his resignation a week after state Attorney General Leticia James released a damning report that concluded he sexually harassed 11 women.

The report implicates Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David — a previous Cuomo counselor — as part of a coordinated effort to discredit one of the women who accused the soon-to-be-former governor of sexual harassment. HRC on Monday announced it will conduct an independent review of David.

Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer who successfully argued against the Defense of Marriage Act before the U.S. Supreme Court, on Monday resigned from the Time’s Up board of directors after James’ report indicated she reviewed and read an op-ed that sought to discredit one of Cuomo’s accusers.

The op-ed was not published.

Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul will succeed Cuomo once his resignation takes effect in two weeks.

Chris Johnson contributed to this report.

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NYPD: Brooklyn library’s Drag Story Hour moved after bomb threat

“These are children, and children just want to hear stories … It’s a shame how somebody just ruined it and threatened violence”

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The Cortelyou branch of Brooklyn Public Library at 1305 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn, New York. (Photo Credit: Brooklyn Public Library)

BROOKLYN – The New York Police Department confirmed that a bomb threat was emailed to the Cortelyou branch of Brooklyn Public Library forcing the staff and patrons to relocate the scheduled Drag Queen Story Hour just prior to the event Saturday morning.

The NYPD confirmed Saturday afternoon that an email addressed to a library staff person sourced to an unknown person with a Buffalo, New York origin threatened that a bomb would detonate at 11:30 a.m., and according to a NYPD spokesperson a male caller also phoned 911 about the threat.

The NYPD’s canine and emergency services units briefly evacuated the branch and did a search but did not locate a device or anything suspicious. “Officers responded to a bomb threat. There were no devices located,” said the spokesperson.

The New York Post reported the drag queens moved their event to a Connecticut Muffin coffee shop a block away after convincing staffers there to help. About seven children and parents attended.

“It’s a shame, and it’s something that’s extremely dangerous,” fumed a parent of a 2-year-old girl who sat in on the reading.

“These are children, and children just want to hear stories … It’s a shame how somebody just ruined it and threatened violence.”

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Out Black dancer O’Shae Sibley killed, NYPD probe as hate crime

NYPD’s 66th Precinct homicide investigators along with the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force (HCTF) are searching for a teenage suspect

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Kemar Jewel, (Left) with O’Shae Sibley (Photo Credit: Kemar Jewel/Facbook)

BROOKLYN, NY. – A professional out queer Black dancer was murdered just after 11 p.m. Saturday night during a confrontation with a group of young Muslim men in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn at a Mobil convenience mart and gas station.

New York City Police Department’s 66th Precinct homicide investigators along with detectives from the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force (HCTF) are searching for a teenage suspect seen in surveillance video footage arguing with the victim, O’Shae Sibley, 28.

According to witnesses and the NYPD, Sibley and a group of his friends performed an impromptu voguing dance session while refueling after a day trip to the Jersey Shore. The teenage suspect and several others had emerged from the convenience mart and engaged Sibley using profanities and homophobic epithets.

Witnesses told investigators that the group of young Muslims had told Sibley and his group that their voguing dance was offensive to their religion.

On the surveillance video footage the ensuing physical altercation is shown with the rapid departure of the suspect and his group. The NYPD said that NYFD medics rushed the dancer to Maimonides Medical Center with a stab wound to the chest, but he succumbed to his injuries enroute and was deceased upon arrival.

Prominent Black director and choreographer Kemar Jewel, who had worked with Sibley since he was a teenager, posted his tribute, expressing grief over the killing on Facebook.

“Over the weekend, my nephew O’Shae (Sage) was murdered due to a hate crime. A group of men killed him for being gay. Once I got the call that he didn’t make it to the hospital, I felt my soul leave my body.

I met O’Shae when he was 16 years old. He was a bright eyed and goofy young man who had talent beyond anything I’d seen before. He could sing, he could do hip hop, jazz, ballet, tap, anddddddd he was an incredible voguer! That’s how we became close.

We both were immersed in the arts and wanted to step into ballroom, so we joined the ballroom scene at the same time and was in our first house together. In addition to Ballroom, O’Shae was a staple in the Philly dance community and was even apart of Philadanco (The Philadelphia Dance Company).

Since O’Shae was so talented, I always jumped at the chance to put him in shows and productions to show off his talents. If you know me, my career took off because of my Ballroom-related music videos. Out of the 8 videos I’ve done in my career, O’Shae has starred in 6 of them! O’Shae also has choreographed and assisted me on several live productions, including choreographing the first ever Black Queer Sondheim show I did.

If you know me, you know that I’m not connected to my biological family, and O’Shae was one of the closest things to family that I ever had. We checked on each other. We loved each other and we were always there when the other needed it. We were invested in each other’s wellbeing and growth and I knew that we were bonded together forever. To add the cherry on top, a few years ago, we found out that we were ACTUALLY RELATED because his biological cousin was married to my uncle. I remember O’Shae’s face when he found out, he was so happy that a bond that was made up was now cemented in real life.

Anyone who ever met O’Shae was very blessed to know him. He was funny, unique, charismatic and always knew how to have a good time. Most importantly, he loved HARD!!! He went above and beyond for his loved ones and made sure no one was ever sad around him. As I write this, tears are running down my face thinking about his beautiful smile and his child-like energy. I can’t believe that I have to live the rest of my life without hearing him calling me “Uncle” in one of his funny voices.

O’Shae, I love you with every bone in my body, I’m so sorry that this world and its hatred has taken you away from us way too soon. I promise you I’ll make sure your memory will live on in the hearts and minds of everyone I come across. I’ll tell your stories! I’ll speak your name and I’ll make sure that every Black Queer artist I meet knows that I am who I am because you poured into me and believed in me, even when no one else did.

Rest in Peace.

Rest in Paradise.

Rest in Power.”

Sibley had performed at Lincoln Center as part of an all-queer dance group in Jacolby Satterwhite’s dreamlike digital media exhibit “An Electric Dance to the Movement of Time” in 2022.

The New York Daily News reported that Jewel notably featured Sibley in his 2021 video “Soft: A Love Letter to Black Queer Men,” a nearly seven-minute performance that the Brooklyn dancer co-choreographed, which uses the art of contemporary dance to portray black feminine energy.

“He really, really loved Soft,” said Jewel. “He helped to talk me through it and breath life into it.”

Jewel told the Daily News that Sibley moved to New York from Philadelphia three years ago, shortly after he did, because he enjoyed the city’s 24-hour vibrancy. He said that Sibley had the gift of making people happy.

“He was goofy and funny and full of life and energy. And he always knew how to make people smile. I think that those are his best attributes — that he made everyone smile.”

Sibley also liked to share his enthusiasm and his gift for dance.

“He also volunteered at dance studios to help teach folks. He volunteered at youth centers and he offered free classes and stuff. He definitely loved to give back.”

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Gov. Hochul makes New York a “Safe Haven” for Trans youth

The groundbreaking new law that makes the state a “safe haven” by ensuring New York will protect trans youth, their parents and their doctors

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New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation establishing the Empire State as a "Safe Haven" for Trans Youth. (Photo Credit: Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

NEW YORK CITY – At the beginning of NYC’s Pride Parade Sunday, New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation establishing the Empire State as a “Safe Haven” for Trans Youth, protecting trans medical info, shields medical professionals, and prohibits police from targeting trans youth.

Hochul signed a groundbreaking new law that makes New York a “safe haven” for the trans community by ensuring New York will protect trans youth, their parents and their doctors and another law which protects their right to receive addiction treatment and rehabilitation. The Governor also signed three new laws that update legal documents in New York to remove outdated and stigmatizing terminology.  

“As the birthplace of the modern movement for LGBTQ+ rights, New York is proud to protect, defend and affirm our LGBTQ+ community,” Governor Hochul said. “From Stonewall to Marriage Equality to GENDA, New Yorkers have been on the forefront of the fight for equal rights. Now, as other states target LGBTQ+ people with bigotry and fearmongering, New York is fighting back. These new laws will enshrine our state as a beacon of hope, a safe haven for trans youth and their families, and ensure we continue to lead the nation on LGBTQ+ rights.” 

Sandra Pérez, Executive Director of NYC Pride said, “We’re thrilled to see that Governor Hochul recognizes the importance of signing this legislation alongside one of the most significant LGBTQIA+ events in the world at the place where Pride began. To have this legislation signed at the marquee event of NYC Pride underscores the importance of Pride events to bring the community together in celebration and in protest.”    

S.2475-B/A.6046-B:  Amends the family court act, the executive law, the civil practice law and rules, the criminal procedure law, the education law, the public health law and the insurance law, to prohibit the following: the consideration of a law of another state that authorizes a child to be removed from their parent or guardian based on the parent or guardian allowing their child to receive gender-affirming care in custody cases, law enforcement agencies from cooperating with or providing information to any individual or out-of-state agency or department regarding the provision of lawful gender-affirming care performed in this state, the issuance of a subpoena in connection with certain out-of-state proceedings relating to seeking health or related information about people who come to New York to receive gender-affirming care, and the arrest of a person for performing or aiding in the lawful performance of gender-affirming care within this state  

S.993-A/A.4903: Amends the mental hygiene law to require the Office of Addiction Services and Supports to assure that persons who suffer from a substance use disorder have the right to seek and receive addiction services, care, treatment and rehabilitation services based on the individual’s gender identity, gender expression and/or sexual orientation.  

S.2442/A.7367: Amends the executive law to remove outdated and stigmatizing statutory language from the definition of “sexual orientation” in New York’s Human Rights Law. It strikes the phrase “However, nothing contained herein shall be construed to protect conduct otherwise proscribed by law” from the definition of “sexual orientation,” and therefor reads, “The term “sexual orientation” means heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or asexuality, whether actual or perceived.”  

A.1142/ S.155:  Amends the general construction law to require that gender-neutral terms be used in any law, rule, regulation or resolution, including but not limited to “they,” “them” and “theirs.” If a law, rule, regulation or resolution is in reference to a specific person, the language referring to such person shall be gendered in accordance with the gender identity of such person.  

A.1371-A/ S.208-A: Amends the State Technology Law to call for state agencies to use gender neutral terminology on their websites. The language may be gendered if it is in relation to a specific person or a specific group of people, in accordance with the gender identity of such person or group.   

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NYC Pride flag woman arsonist declared mentally unfit for trial

According to police sources, Cando also allegedly scrawled “Jesus is King” on two NYPD RMPs parked outside of the Lower Manhattan precinct

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Alleged Pride flag arsonist suspect Angelina Cando in a Manhattan courtroom Tuesday. (Photo by Dean Moses)

By Dean Moses | NEW YORK – The woman who allegedly set a pride flag ablaze in SoHo earlier this year has been deemed mentally unfit to stand trial during a court appearance on Tuesday afternoon.

Thirty-year-old Angelina Cando who is currently being held on Rikers Island appeared in a Manhattan courtroom on May 2 when the ruling was handed down. Her case was adjourned to May 9 for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to review the findings.

Cando was cuffed back in February for setting fire to a pride flag that hung outside of the Little Prince NYC restaurant and was marked with the words “Make America Gay Again.” Cando allegedly used a lighter to burn the flag in what was deemed a hate crime. Nobody was injured in the prejudice-filled act of arson and the eatery received minor exterior damages.

Angelina Cando. Photo by Dean Moses

Cando was charged with arson as a hate crime and reckless endangerment as a hate crime. 

According to police sources, Cando also allegedly scrawled “Jesus is King” on two NYPD RMPs parked outside of the Lower Manhattan precinct. For this, she was slapped with the charges of making graffiti, criminal mischief, and criminal possession of graffiti instruments.

While Cando has been prone to prior outbursts in court, Tuesday’s brief appearance remained undisturbed.

Related Story:

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The preceding article was previously published by AM NY/The Villager and is republished with permission.

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GLAAD leads second protest outside New York Times

GLAAD leads coalition in second protest of New York Times still asking after two months: “Why won’t you meet with trans community leaders?”

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GLAAD billboard truck back outside the New York Times building April 17, 2023. (Photo Credit: GLAAD/Twitter)

NEW YORK CITY – The billboard truck is back. Hired by GLAAD, the vehicle blasting neon messages criticizing The New York Times for its coverage of the transgender community returned to the newspaper’s Manhattan headquarters Monday. 

The LGBTQ+ media advocacy organization leads a coalition of more than 100 advocacy groups, transgender journalists and allies demanding the paper’s editors and leadership “stop printing biased, anti-trans stories,” meet with members and leaders in the trans community, and hire at least four trans writers and editors as full-time members of its staff.

Although the Blade received a response from Charlie Stadtlander, the Director of External Communications for the Times, following the first protest on Feb. 15, GLAAD’s president and CEO says the newspaper has yet to respond to an open letter released on that date, or to its demands. 

“It is outrageous and disrespectful that New York Times leadership continues to ignore the voices of trans community leaders, who have been sounding the alarm about the newspaper’s irresponsible, inaccurate coverage for over a year,” said Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement to the Blade. “Trans people deserve to be respected and have their voices heard. Mainstream media publications, including the Times, have a responsibility to their readers to cover trans people and issues in a fair, accurate, and inclusive way. 

“Our coalition of more than a hundred organizations and leaders asked that the Times meet with trans community leaders within two months. Two months have come and gone without a word from the Times. What are they afraid of?” said Ellis. “It is beyond unacceptable for the Times to use sensational, inaccurate stories about trans people for clicks, yet refuse to speak with leaders in the trans community.”

GLAAD’s coalition letter was released the same day as another letter co-authored by contributors to the newspaper. ”Some of us are trans, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming, and we resent the fact that our work, but not our person, is good enough for the paper of record. Some of us are cis, and we have seen those we love discover and fight for their true selves, often swimming upstream against currents of bigotry and pseudoscience fomented by the kind of coverage we here protest.”

“I am forever inspired by how generous and courageous NYT contributors and employees involved with the letter have given of their time, energy, heart, and belief of potential that our media landscape can serve as a catalyst for change,” said one of the signatories, writer and activist Raquel Willis. “I am also grateful for the numerous organizations that have bolstered the efforts of our journalists in a time when not just facts, but empathy continues to be left on the cutting room floor.”

“I have tracked 430 bills targeting the trans community this year, and I have seen New York Times articles referenced in numerous hearings,” said journalist and researcher Erin Reed. Just last week, Missouri’s attorney general cited a Times article in banning gender affirming care for all transgender people, including adults.  

“Accurate and sensitive coverage from the New York Times is of paramount importance,” said Reed. “They need to hire more trans staff, allow trans people to cover the biggest stories that relate to our care, and take responsibility for ensuring their coverage is respectful and accurately portrays the scientific consensus around gender affirming care. I hope to see a real commitment to engaging with the community in the coming days.”

“Their reporting on the transgender community has been anything but accurate and fair,” said Jay Brown, HRC’s senior vice president for programs, research and training. “Gender affirming medical care is widely supported by every major medical association — representing more than 1.3 million doctors — but they’re platforming anti-trans extremists whose only goal is to push us all back into the closet. They aren’t experts and shouldn’t be treated as such. This isn’t a matter of giving equal time to two sides of an issue. It’s about giving radicals a platform that has been used by politicians to harm transgender people — and trans youth in particular. The Times must do better and they should listen to those of us who are transgender when we are telling them their reporting is dangerous.” 

In his Feb. 15 statement emailed to the Blade, Stadtlander had this to say in response to the coalition, the open letter and the protest:

“We received the open letter delivered by GLAAD and welcome their feedback. We understand how GLAAD and the co-signers of the letter see our coverage. But at the same time, we recognize that GLAAD’s advocacy mission and The Times’s journalistic mission are different.

“As a news organization, we pursue independent reporting on transgender issues that include profiling groundbreakers in the movement, challenges and prejudice faced by the community, and how society is grappling with debates about care.

“The very news stories criticized in their letter reported deeply and empathetically on issues of care and well-being for trans teens and adults. Our journalism strives to explore, interrogate and reflect the experiences, ideas and debates in society — to help readers understand them. Our reporting did exactly that and we’re proud of it.”

Read the letters and who signed them by clicking here.  

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NY Attorney General hosts drag story hour- Proud Boys chased off

Approximately 200 attendees enjoyed the read-a-thon, led by the Drag Kings, Queens and Royalty of Drag Story Hour NYC at the center

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Screenshot/YouTube FNTV

MANHATTAN – Far-right extremists clashed with LGBTQ+ activists and supporters outside outside the LGBTQ Community Center on W. 13th St. in Greenwich Village Sunday, as inside New York State Attorney General Letitia James hosted a Drag Queen Story Hour event.

Approximately 200 attendees enjoyed the read-a-thon, led by the Drag Kings, Queens and Royalty of Drag Story Hour NYC at the center, a resource hub for New York City’s LGBTQ+ community.

As families arrived with excited smiles, a group of protesters assembled across the street — many of them brandishing Trump signs and wearing garb supporting White Supremacist groups like the Proud Boys, AM New York reported.

Protestors were separated by barricades on either side of West 13th along with a heavy New York Police Department presence with dozens of uniform and plainclothes officers to maintain calm.

Independent freelance videographer and photojournalist Oliya Scootercaster captured the protests as one member of the Proud Boys was led away with blood and scrapes on his face by another Proud Boy after an apparent altercation.

Another far-right protestor, who had covered his face and head with a golden Guy Fawkes mask and USA flag headscarf, was seen being arrested by NYPD officers after he confronted protesters and members of the press, knocking things out of their hands.

Proud Boys Bloody Fight at Protest of Attorney Generals Drag Story Hour in Manhattan via FNTV Freedomnews.tv videographer Oliya Scootercaster:

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NYC councilman’s house vandalized by anti-drag protestors

Councilmember Erik Bottcher published a series of Twitter posts revealing photos of anti-LGBTQ vandalism at his home and his office

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Hateful vandalism on display outside the home of Councilmember Erik Bottcher. (Photo Credit: Twitter/@EBOTTCHER)

By Matt Tracy | NEW YORK CITY – Councilmember Erik Bottcher of Manhattan published a series of Twitter posts on December 19 revealing photos of anti-LGBTQ vandalism at his home and his office, where bigots scrawled slurs like “groomer” and hurled threats such as “we want Erik.”

And yet, the incident could have been even worse: Bottcher said the vandals “gained entry” into his apartment, which prompted his building’s super to call the police.

Two women — 44-year-old Erica Sanchez and 27-year-old Anna Morgan — were arrested for allegedly vandalizing his home and office, according to the NYPD.

They allegedly entered Bottcher’s office building at West 30th Street at 3 p.m. in the afternoon and wrote “Bitcher” on the walls. The alleged vandals then went to Bottcher’s apartment building and wrote messages like “child predator” and “OK groomer” on the sidewalk. One of the messages on the sidewalk accused Bottcher of being a “pedo child groomer.”

The baseless accusations against Bottcher represented the latest example of the nationwide resurgence of the term “groomer” as a homophobic slur hurled at gay men. In New York City, Queens Councilmember Vickie Paladino has unapologetically used the term on social media when criticizing drag story hour.

The scary scene at Bottcher’s home and work unfolded two days after he was in attendance at a drag story hour event and tweeted about protesters disrupting it.

“Tonight the Drag Story Hour protesters came to my apartment building and gained entry,” said Bottcher, whose City Council district encompasses Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Greenwich Village, West SoHo, Hudson Square, Times Square, Garment District, Flatiron, and Upper West Side. “My super called the cops and two of them were arrested for trespassing. This is pure hate, unmasked. If they think this is going to intimidate us, they’re mistaken. Our resolve is strengthened.”

Just two hours prior to that tweet, Bottcher had posted on Twitter about the vandalism targeting his office. He blamed that vandalism on “Gays Against Groomers,” a group of extremists known for targeting drag story hour events with anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and for routinely mocking gender-affirming environments for youth.

“Today people who call themselves ‘gays against groomers’ vandalized the hallway outside our district office,” Bottcher said. “We will not be cowed. We will not be silenced. We will continue to stand up against hate.”

One day after the vandalism took place, Bottcher posted a video clip that he said showed the alleged assailants harassing people outside of his apartment building.

Elected officials representing every level of government flocked to social media to show support for Bottcher. Two out state lawmakers who represent Bottcher’s area, Assemblymember Deborah Glick and State Senator Brad Hoylman, were among those speaking on Twitter.

“It’s ironic that hatred is being directed at one of the most decent and likable city council members there is,” Hoylman wrote. “David, me and our daughters Silvia and Lucy stand with you @ebottcher during this season of lights.”

Glick, responding to Bottcher’s tweet about his apartment building, wrote, “Sorry for the harassment @GOP rhetoric has empowered ignorant & hateful jackasses — they’re determined to turn back the clock — But we are never going back. @NYPDPC needs to up their focus on all hate crimes.”

Another out state lawmaker, State Senator Jabari Brisport, tweeted: “Sorry Erik this is so disgusting. Here for you.”

Bottcher’s City Council colleagues also stood in solidarity with him, including members of the LGBTQIA+ Caucus.

“This is vile,” wrote Councilmember Chi Ossé of Brooklyn. “I’m so sorry you had to deal with this my friend. Here for you always!!!”

“Want to reiterate my solidarity to you Erik,” Councilmember Lynn Schulman of Queens, also a member of the LGBTQIA+ Caucus, said in a Twitter post. “The Council as a whole gave funding to Drag Queen Story Hour, and this could happen to any one of us. We must stand together in unison to support you and stand up against hatred.

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams called the attack “a dangerous and a serious violation of privacy.”

“The ‘protesters who did this must continue to be held accountable for their disgusting actions,” the speaker wrote. “We stand with you, @ebottcher. We will never allow hate to prevail.”

The governor and mayor jumped to Bottcher’s side on Twitter, as well.

“I’m so sorry you experienced this, Erik,” Governor Kathy Hochul wrote. “We are all standing with you. We will never tolerate this disgusting and hateful behavior in New York.”

Mayor Adams described the attacks on Bottcher’s home and office as “outrageous.”

“Erik, you stand up for our city every single day and these cowardly bigots have no place here,” Adams wrote. “Thank you to the NYPD for your quick work and sending the message that this hate will not go unchallenged.”

New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, tweeted: “This bigotry is disgusting. I’m glad you’re safe @ebottcher, and I’m standing with you.”

Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, who was the lead sponsor of the marriage equality bill that was signed into law this month, also spoke up for Bottcher.

“I stand with my friend @ebottcher, Drag Queen Story Hour, and the LGBTQ+ community against this disgusting display of hate,” Nadler said. “Elected officials have a responsibility to condemn this false, dangerous rhetoric that’s being used as a new way to discriminate against the community.”

Gays Against Guns, an advocacy group that has pushed for gun control since the aftermath of the Pulse massacre in 2016, wrote, “We stand with you, Erik. Sending us all our love and support. This is a hate crime.”

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Matt Tracy is Gay City News’ editor-in-chief.

The preceding piece was originally published by Gay City News and is republished with permission.

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New bills to prevent hate crimes in New York signed by Gov. Hochul

“New York belongs to the good, not those with hate in their hearts – we’re taking bold action to reclaim our city and state from the haters”

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New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) (Screenshot/YouTube)

NEW YORK – On the same day that a 34-year-old man was arrested for allegedly throwing bricks at the window of a gay nightclub in Hell’s Kitchen, New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) announced new measures to stop hate crimes in the Empire State.

Speaking to reporters last Tuesday at an emotional press conference, the governor called on New Yorkers to reclaim the state from “bigots who have butchered communities’ sense of security.”

“New York belongs to the good, not those with hate in their hearts – we’re taking bold action to reclaim our city and state from the haters, bigots and white supremacists,” Hochul said.

The governor’s actions comes after comes after the NYPD arrested two men for allegedly plotting to shoot synagogues and wreak havoc on the Jewish community, targeted attacks on the Asian community, and the recent mass-shooting at an LGBTQ nite club in Colorado Springs.

NYPD detectives arrested Sean Kuilan Tuesday afternoon and charged him with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment for allegedly throwing bricks and a rock at the window of a gay nightclub in Hell’s Kitchen three times last week in what a NYPD spokesperson characterized as a potential hate crime.

Hochul, who led the state through the racist Buffalo massacre last spring, said that a horrifying mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado and a sinister anti-Semitic plot foiled in New York over the weekend offered “painful reminders that there is a rising tide of hate in our country,” the New York Daily News reported.

“This is our defining moment, New Yorkers,” the governor declared.

“Every one of us has a role to play,” Hochul said. “From this day forward, ask yourself: Did I do something to help spread the love that should be part of who we are as New Yorkers?”

After delivering her remarks, Hochul then signed two bills, Senate/Assembly Bill (S.6570/A.1202) to “Require individuals convicted of hate crimes to undergo mandatory training in hate crime prevention and education.”

Legislation (S.6570/A.1202) amends the penal law to establish that in addition to other penalties, individuals convicted of hate crimes shall undergo mandatory training in hate crime prevention and education as part of their sentence. The programs, training sessions, or counseling sessions must be authorized by the court or local agencies in cooperation with organizations serving the affected community.

The second measure, (S.123A/A.5913A) establishes a statewide campaign, developed and run by the New York State Division of Human Rights to promote the acceptance, inclusion, tolerance, and understanding of the diversity of the people of New York.

Legislation (S.123A/A.5913A) amends the executive law to establish and implement a statewide campaign for the acceptance, inclusion, tolerance, and understanding of diversity. The campaign, which will be developed and implemented by the Division of Human Rights, will coordinate and cooperate with public and private organizations, including, but not limited to, local governments, community groups, school districts, places of worship, charitable organizations, and foundations and will develop educational materials to be published on the internet, social media, and other platforms to reach the public.

“Our hearts are broken after a weekend during which LGBTQ Americans were massacred and Jewish New Yorkers were targeted in horrific acts of hateful violence,” Hochul said. “New York belongs to the good, not those with hate in their hearts – we’re taking bold action to reclaim our city and state from the haters, bigots and white supremacists. Domestic-based violent extremism is the greatest threat to our homeland security, and that is why we continue to remain laser-focused on combatting hate and keeping New Yorkers safe.”

Governor Hochul Announces Actions to Prevent Hate Crimes and Protect New Yorkers:

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Teen social media influencer cancels Bronx event after threats

“I’m going to that library, I’m going with a bucked of dog shit and I’m pouring it on your parents and rubbing it into their eyes” 

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Desmond Napoles, aka 'Desmond is Amazing" (Photo Credit: Desmond is Amazing/Facebook)

BRONX, Ny. – An event scheduled to take place on Saturday at the Morrisania Library in the Bronx hosted by LGBTQ+ teen celebrity, social media influencer and drag artist Desmond Napoles, known by their stage name of ‘Desmond is Amazing,’ was cancelled after threats were made according to Amy Geduldig, a spokesperson for the New York Public Library, (NYPL).

The high school sophomore who likes to volunteer at the New York Public Library “because it’s really fun and it gives me something to do during the summer” was slated to present two teen-focused sessions reading from their book, “Be Amazing: A History of Pride.”

The New York Daily News along with Facebook posts on their ‘Desmond is Amazing‘ page reported that the 15-year-old received hate-filled and violent threats. The Daily News noted that Desmond was called “disgusting” and a range of slurs by a person using a recently created Instagram account who also threatened to use violence against Desmond and their family.

“You need to be locked away in a dog kennel and thrown into the ocean,” read one of the 10 private messages sent to the teen, which were seen by the Daily News.

The Instagram account was reported to the New York City Police Department (NYPD) as well as the NYPL. The Insta user also threatened: “I’m going to that library, I’m going with a bucked of dog shit and I’m pouring it on your parents and rubbing it into their eyes.” 

According to the Daily News, Desmond’s mother Wendy Napoles figured they would be OK and that the person was “just another cyberbully” — something the family has encountered before. “But on Saturday, he called the library to find out if Desmond was still going to be there,” she said.

The person, a man with a phone number linked to a business in Louisiana, then went on an angry tirade, saying that such events should not be allowed at the library, calling Desmond “a little faggot.” The library decided to cancel for the safety of everyone involved.

There has been escalating attacks and threats of violence against the LGBTQ+ community in the past year, many spurred on by posts spread on social media including those made by a former Brooklyn real estate agent, Chaya Raichik, known online as Libs of TikTok, who spreads far-right extremism and conspiracy materials often targeting the LGBTQ+ community directly.

This particular event in the Bronx was not present in Raichik’s Twitter feed.

Raichik and other far-right extremists target drag queen story hours and LGBTQ+ book readings often referring to those events as “grooming” or framing the events in a way to inflame anti-LGBTQ+ animus.

Raichik has also garnered support from far-right leaning politicos including a recent endorsement by Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.

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New York

Long Island library reverses decision to pull LGBTQ Pride display & books

“The Board of Trustees reversed its decision to ban Pride displays & books in the children’s section! This happened because YOU spoke up!”

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Smithtown Library, Long Island NY (Smithtown Library Board/Facebook)

SMITHTOWN, Ny. – The Smithtown Library Board of Trustees met in an emergency session Thursday night to rescind its Tuesday vote to ban any and all displays related to LGBTQ Pride from kids’ areas at Smithtown Library buildings.

The Board’s Tuesday decision was met with anger and dismay including New York Governor Kathy Hochul who wrote on Twitter, “Our public spaces should be accepting our young people — not rejecting them.”

The New York Library Association had also issued a statement saying; “This ban of any displays related to Pride sets a dangerous precedent for libraries across the state because it normalizes the victimization of LGBTQ+ youth in their schools and in their communities, which has dire consequences.

The Hauppauge New York-based LGBT Network credited the onslaught of public anger and criticism including Governor Hochul’s as the mitigating factors in the reversal by the library board. The group also warned that there is a larger fight being waged that imperils LGBTQ+ youth.

“Tonight the Smithtown Library Board of Trustees reversed its decision to ban Pride displays and books in the children’s section of their library! This happened because YOU spoke up and spoke out! It is a reason to celebrate and demonstrates what our collective power can do. But it is also a wakeup call that the culture wars targeting LGBTQ youth are very much here in our backyard,” a statement on the group’s website noted.

“The reversal overall is good because it gets those books and displays back into the libraries,” LGBT Network vice president Robert Vitelli told local media after the library board reversed itself. “The commentary that went along with the votes shows there’s still a lot that needs to be done.”

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