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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



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 videographer Oliya Scootercaster:


New York

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



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:


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?”



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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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



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.”


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”



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” 



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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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!”



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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Long Island library yanks LGBTQ+ Pride display & books from kids section

“Our LGBTQ youth are under attack- This isn’t Alabama or Florida or the bible belt — this is Long Island!”



Library books on shelves at the Smithtown library main branch (Screenshot/Tube NBC New York)

SMITHTOWN, Ny. – A 4-2 vote Tuesday by the Smithtown Library Board of Trustees to ban any and all displays related to LGBTQ Pride from kids’ areas at Smithtown Library buildings, 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 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.

According to The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 40% LGBTQ respondents seriously considered attempting suicide in the past twelve months, and more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth have seriously considered suicide.

Further, GLSEN’s School Climate Survey for LGBTQ+ Students in New York reported over 50%
of LGBTQ+ students experienced at least one form of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in their
schools. Although countless research points towards how public LGBTQ+ representation is life
saving for LGBTQ+ youth – only 28% of students in New York were taught positive
representations of LGBTQ+ people, history, or events.

“Our LGBTQ youth are under attack,” said Dr. David Kilmnick, the president and CEO of the New York LGBTQ Network. “This isn’t Alabama or Florida or the bible belt — this is Long Island!”

“You come after our kids, we’re going after you. We’re gonna replace you on the school boards, we’re gonna replace you on the library boards,” Kilmnick added.

Brianna Baker-Stines, the president of the library board, was similarly shocked and disappointed by the actions taken. She told NBC New York, “I was horrified by the display of ignorance at last night’s Board meeting. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I recognize the importance of access to diverse materials.”

The New York Library Association also signaled its support of the staff of library:

Nassau County Legislator Arnold Drucker said “I feel like I’m living in the Twilight Zone.”

“Earlier this year, when Florida was ramming destructive ‘Don’t Say Gay’ laws through its State Legislature, I lamented the fact that this coordinated, nationwide assault on the LGBTQ+ community could soon arrive on our doorstep. Well, it’s here,” he said in a statement. “What transpired yesterday in Smithtown shows us that we cannot pull the wool over our own eyes for a moment longer by saying, ‘it won’t happen here.'”

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NYC LGBTQ+ groups protest DeSantis appearance at Chelsea Piers 

“The bottom line is Chelsea Piers is providing a venue to propagate hate toward the LGBTQ community and that is unacceptable on many levels”



U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) poses with protestors outside Chelsea Piers (Photo credit: Rep. Carolyn Maloney/Twitter)

NEW YORK CITY – An appearance by anti-LGBTQ+ Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis speaking to the Jewish Leadership Conference at Chelsea Piers sparked protests Sunday by LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and several elected officials including U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).

The appearance by the Florida governor, who signed the state’s infamous ‘Don’t Say Gay Law’ and during a press conference last week where he also suggested he might urge the state’s child protective services to investigate parents who take their children to drag shows, was decried as insensitive and offensive during LGBTQ+ Pride month held every June to commemorate the 1969 LGBTQ+ uprising at the Stonewall Inn which is located about 2 miles away.

State Senator Brad Hoylman who represents Chelsea has joined other Democratic politicians and NYC leaders and urged Chelsea Piers to say no to hate and demagoguery: “The bottom line is Chelsea Piers is providing a venue to propagate hate toward the LGBTQ community and that is unacceptable on many levels, including that it is Pride and that it is in Chelsea, the heart of the community,” Hoylman said.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney tweeted her disgust at both the Florida Governor and Chelsea Piers:

In a tweet of his own DeSantis fired back at his critics:

The venue told the New York Times that it would be donating money to groups that support LGBTQ+ rights to mitigate the fallout. The Times reported the decision by Chelsea Piers to donate money has not mollified critics.

Other groups are canceling upcoming events at Chelsea Piers. Rich Ferraro, a spokesman for GLAAD, said his organization would “refrain from future events” at the complex, “given the platform that Chelsea Piers is giving to one of the most anti-L.G.B.T.Q. and dangerous politicians today.”

The Ali Forney Center, a group that works with homeless L.G.B.T.Q. youth in New York, said on Friday that it would no longer be holding a program there next month. “People are saying this issue is about freedom of speech, but it is not. It is in response to DeSantis silencing freedom of speech in schools,” the group’s president, Alex Roque, wrote in a statement.

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Massive Progress Pride flag in New York debuts with Ballet Hispánico

The Progress Pride Flag places emphasis on inclusion & progression with colors representing marginalized communities of color & trans people



Dancers from Ballet Hispánico and the Progress Pride Flag (Photo by Steven Pisano)

NEW YORK CITY – The installation of the largest Progress Pride Flag in New York State was celebrated at the FDR Four Freedoms State Park on Roosevelt Island, NYC this week, with dancers from with Ballet Hispánico. Sponsored by the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy, in partnership with New York State Office of  Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the flag measures more than 100 feet long by 30 feet wide. 

Photo by Steven Pisano

The 2022 Progress Pride Flag places greater emphasis on inclusion and progression with  added colors representing marginalized LGBTQIA+ communities of color and transgender communities.

The installation of the largest Pride Flag in New York State is a reminder of the  importance of the Four Freedoms as articulated in Franklin Roosevelt’s January 1941 State of the Union speech.

This year,  FFPC invited Ballet Hispánico, the country’s leading Latinx dance company to launch this year’s Progress Pride Flag  installation. Dance is a cherished form of expression that aligns with the Conservancy’s mission.

Photo by Steven Pisano

“Four Freedoms Park Conservancy’s mission is singular and simple: we create public programs, commission public art and  produce installations to ignite conservations about basic human rights. President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941, articulated these,  in what now seems stunningly prescient: Freedom of Speech and Expression, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and  Freedom from Fear. This is what The Progress Pride Flag stands for – inclusion means inclusion in all the freedoms from economic security to freedom from fear and of course freedom of expression,” said Howard Axel, CEO Four Freedoms Park  Conservancy. “Could there be an organization more suited to express the Freedoms than Ballet Hispánico – one of the  nation’s great cultural treasures that combines artistic excellence with advocacy? I hope this flag inspires New Yorkers to get  outside with Pride!”

Photo by Steven Pisano

The FDR Four Freedoms State Park is one of the nation’s only monuments dedicated to essential human freedoms; the Park’s  Progress Pride Flag installation serves as both a symbol of solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community and a reminder of the  collective progress needed to achieve these freedoms. The installation is part of a series of special public offerings to  commemorate the 10th anniversary of the State Park, which opened to the public in 2012. 

“Ballet Hispánico is thrilled to have been selected to help launch the 2022 Progress Pride Flag, an installation which aligns  with our mission of representation, inclusion, and accessibility through culture and dance,” said Ballet Hispánico Artistic  Director and CEO Eduardo Vilaro. “As an organization that is deeply involved in community engagement and education, and  grounded in our rich history in New York City, it is as honor to be able to participate in something meant to be enjoyed by  all.”

“We are proud to send this bold message of inclusion and acceptance at FDR Four Freedoms State Park,” said New York  State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. “Thanks to the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy for helping to make the park  welcoming and open to all – and highlighting again what it means to be free.” 

Visitors are encouraged to post their photos on social media using #4Freedomspark #NYStateParks Entrance to the Park is free to the public and it is open Wednesdays through Mondays from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and is  closed on Tuesdays.

The Park is accessible via the Tramway at East 60th St. and Second Avenue, F train to Roosevelt Island  stop, NYC Ferry (Astoria Route), Q102 bus from Queens and by car (no on-site parking available). Click here for detailed  directions.


Photo by Steven Pisano

For fifty years Ballet Hispánico has been the leading voice intersecting artistic excellence and advocacy and is now the largest  Latinx cultural organization in the United States and one of America’s Cultural Treasures. Ballet Hispánico brings  communities together to celebrate and explore Latino cultures through innovative dance productions, transformative dance  training, and enduring community engagement experiences.

National Medal of Arts recipient Tina Ramirez founded Ballet  Hispánico in 1970, at the height of the post-war civil rights movements. From its inception Ballet Hispánico focused on  providing a haven for Black and Brown Latinx youth and families seeking artistic place and cultural sanctuary.

By providing  the space for Latinx dance and dancers to flourish, Ballet Hispánico uplifted marginalized emerging and working artists, which  combined with the training, authenticity of voice, and power of representation, fueled the organization’s roots and trajectory. 

In 2009, Ballet Hispánico welcomed Eduardo Vilaro as its Artistic Director, ushering in a new era by inserting fresh energy to  the company’s founding values and leading Ballet Hispánico into an artistically vibrant future.

Today, Ballet Hispánico ’s New  York City headquarters house a School of Dance and state-of-the-art dance studios for its programs and the arts community.  From its grassroots origins as a dance school and community-based performing arts troupe, for fifty years Ballet Hispánico has  stood as a catalyst for social change.

Ballet Hispánico provides the physical home and cultural heart for Latinx dance in the  United States. Ballet Hispánico has developed a robust public presence across its three main programs: its Company, School of  Dance, and Community Arts Partnerships.

Through its exemplary artistry, distinguished training program, and deep-rooted  community engagement efforts Ballet Hispánico champions and amplifies underrepresented voices in the field.

For fifty years  Ballet Hispánico has provided a place of honor for the omitted, overlooked, and oppressed. As it looks to the next fifty years  and beyond, Ballet Hispánico seeks to empower, and give agency to, the Latinx experience and those individuals within it.

For  more information, visit Follow Ballet Hispánico on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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New York

Governor Hochul: New Yorkers can use “X” as a gender marker

“Every person, regardless of their gender identity or expression, deserves to have an identity document that reflects who they are”



Courtesy of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles

ALBANY – New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul announced Friday that New Yorkers will have the option to choose “X” as a gender marker on their driver license, learner permit, or non-driver ID card at all Department of Motor Vehicle offices statewide.

This change is being implemented in accordance with the State’s Gender Recognition Act, which goes into effect on June 24.

This landmark legislation provides expanded protections for transgender and non-binary New Yorkers through this change at the DMV and by making it easier for people to change their names, change their sex designation and change their birth certificates to reflect their identity.  

“As we prepare to celebrate Pride Month in a few days, I am excited to announce this historic change that represents another victory in our fight to help ensure equality and respect for the LGBTQ+ community,” Hochul said. “Every person, regardless of their gender identity or expression, deserves to have an identity document that reflects who they are. My administration remains committed to ensuring that New York is a place of value, love and belonging for members of the LGBTQ+ community.” 

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder said, “Perhaps more than any other state agency, New Yorkers directly engage with their government through the DMV, so offering identity documents that are representative of all New Yorkers is a significant milestone. We are thrilled to implement this new option that we know will have a positive impact on the lives of so many of our customers.”   

NY Division of Human Rights Commissioner Maria Imperial said, “We applaud our state’s important action to ensure that these essential ID documents accurately reflect and affirm who we are. We will continue working to advance dignity and eliminate discrimination against transgender and non-binary people in New York State.”  

Deputy Chief Diversity Officer Priya Nair said, “As a transgender and non-binary New Yorker, this action means that I can now get a driver license that better reflects my identity. It’s not only the correct gender marker, but it’s also an action which demonstrates that New York State affirms and sees me for who I am. Thank you to Governor Hochul, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and all of the non-binary and transgender advocates who pushed for this important and inclusive change. As other states attack and roll back protections for transgender people, I am proud to live in a state that will continue to fight for our communities.” 

New Yorkers who have an existing driver license, learner permit, or non-driver ID will have the option to change the gender marker on their photo ID from “M” or “F” to “X”, and those who are applying for a NYS photo ID for the first time will have the option to choose “X”. This can be done by completing the Application for Permit, Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card (MV-44).     

Customers who do not want to visit a DMV office to change their existing ID document will have the option to change their gender designation through an online transaction beginning in July 2022.   

This announcement comes as part of the major advancements in LGBTQ+ equity Governor Hochul fought for and secured in the Enacted Fiscal Year 2023 State Budget.

The Budget includes $13.5 million for the Department of Health to support the LGBTQ+ community and more than doubles annual LGBTQ+ Health and Human Services funding. In addition, the Budget includes legislation requiring state agencies to provide an option for individuals to mark their gender or sex as a non-binary “X” on all state forms that collect gender or sex information.

Agencies are also required to include that information in data collection. The Enacted Budget also enables transgender New Yorkers to change their names or gender designations on marriage certificates without leaving their dead names on them.  

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