Paladino doubles down: ‘It’s not hate speech to say that drag queens don’t belong in schools’

Council member Vickie Paladino, who represents Northeast Queens, sparked a firestorm after she made a series of controversial statements regarding Drag Queen Story Hour (twitter)

June 17, 2022 By Christian Murray

Council member Vickie Paladino faced an onslaught of criticism this week – from her council colleagues to gay rights groups – following a series of inflammatory statements she made while expressing her opposition to a program where Drag Queens read books and perform for school children.

She has been accused of being homophobic, cruel and dangerous for her harsh criticism of the city for funding Drag Queen Story Hour, a program its advocates say promotes inclusivity and acceptance.

Paladino, a Republican who represents District 19 in northeast Queens, described the program as “unacceptable and farcical” and tweeted monday that “progressives may have no problem with grooming and sexualizing children, but I do.”

City Council LGBTQIA+ Caucus issued a statement on Thursday asking that she be officially censured and that her committee assignments be removed.

“Council member Vickie Paladino’s recent comments are unacceptable from anyone, let alone an elected official. They are filled with hatred, intolerance and ignorance.

But Paladino isn’t backing down from her comments and says she’s not promoting hate.

“It’s not hate speech to say that drag queens have no place in schools,” she said. tweeted Thursday. “I make no apologies for that. Child protection is my priority. Period. That’s what I was elected to do.”

She brushed off the progressives and said she now needed police security in her office.

“While my fellow progressives on the board and their radical allies are playing the victim and claiming that speaking out against elementary school drag queens puts them in ‘danger’, back in the real world, my office now needs a detail policeman because of threats of violence from leftist hatred. crowd.”

The saga began on Sunday when the NYPost reported that nonprofit Drag Queen Story Hour — and its predecessor group — had secured more than $200,000 in municipal contracts since 2018. The organization sends Drag Queens to schools public buildings, libraries and street festivals. where its outrageously dressed performers usually read to young students.

Paladino made a series of harsh remarks about the program as well as city spending, which critics called ignorant.

A Drag Queens reading and entertaining students in New York (Picture: Drag Queen Story Hour NYC)

“We’re taking hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the pockets of hard-working New York taxpayers…to fund a program teaching little kids about gender fluidity? Not. On. My. Look,” Paladino told the NYPost.

Then she tweeted that it would draw funds from the schools in its municipal district that participate in the program.

Vickie Paladino represents District 19 (shown in blue), which covers Whitestone, College Point, Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston and parts of North Flushing.

“Any school in my district that participates in the ‘drag queen’ degeneration is at risk of losing its funding. Adult drag performers have NO BUSINESS in our schools, and they won’t be in my district. Period.”

Paladino has faced fierce attacks from many elected officials since making her statements, although some Republicans have backed her.

In Queens, most elected officials criticized her for her remarks.

“Couldn’t be more outraged,” Astoria board member Tiffany Cabán tweeted. “Drag Story Hour NYC shows young queer NYers that they are valid, that they truly belong.”

Cabán, along with members of the LGBTQIA+ Caucus, describe Storytime as “a wonderful, healthy and vital program that invites our children to explore who they really are, to see themselves as unique individuals with the right to be who they are in the world”. world.”

Councilwoman Linda Lee, whose eastern district of Queens shares a border with Paladino, also weighed in. and should never be spoken by anyone,” Lee posted on Twitter.

Paladino’s use of the word “grooming”, which has always meant the act of manipulating children for the purpose of sexual abuse, drew particular contempt.

Meanwhile, Council Member Lynn Schulman, who represents Forest Hills and surrounding areas, released a statement in which she was “saddened that a fellow Council member is fueling hatred towards any group that does not align with what is considered “the norm”.

She also tweeted that hate should not be tolerated.

Council President Adrienne Adams, who represents Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village and South Ozone Park, was very blunt in condemning Paladino.

“An attack on one New Yorker is an attack on all of us,” Adams said. “At the Council, we pride ourselves on our mutual respect as colleagues, even in the face of disagreements. But disagreement from a place of hate and intolerance is where we draw the line.

“I join all of my Council colleagues, the LGBTQ+ communities and New Yorkers in unequivocally speaking out against Council Member Paladino’s abhorrent opinions and statements against specific Council members and the trans community,” said Adams.

But Paladino has the support of some Republicans. Andrew Giuliani, a Republican seeking the governorship, tweeted his support. He said she “speaks truth to radical power.”

The New York Young Republican Club also came to his support, as did some Republican candidates seeking office in Albany.

But the overwhelming majority of officials expressed outrage at his comments.

Mayor Eric Adams issued a statement Thursday in support of the Drag Queen program without directly addressing Paladino’s controversial statements.

He tweeted that the program advances “a love of diversity, personal experience and literacy that is at the heart of what the city embraces.”

Adams added that the goal is for children in New York to be “intellectually intelligent” and “emotionally intelligent.”

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