DeSantis event at Chelsea Piers faces backlash over LGBTQ rights

For the second time this spring, an organization in New York City is facing backlash over conservative Jewish conferenceIt’s been a long time coming, because of one of its featured speakers: Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida.

In May, the Jewish Heritage Museum supported by a tentative rental agreement to organize events. Now, Chelsea Piers, an entertainment complex with a large event space in its Manhattan location that has agreed to host the conference this weekend, is being widely criticized by elected officials and Activist groups say Mr. DeSantis should not speak at a venue that has played an important role in New York’s LGBTQ history.

Earlier this year, Mr. DeSantis signed legislation banning classroom discussion about gender identity and sexual orientation for certain age groups in Florida schools, which opponents called “”Don’t say gay” receipt.

The event, the Jewish Leadership Conference, organized by the Tikvah Fund, a conservative Jewish organization, said it had invited Mr. DeSantis to give a speech on the vibrancy of Jewish life in Florida.

But when the Jewish Heritage Museum learned of Mr. DeSantis’ involvement, its management withdrew from the event, telling Tikvah that the legislation was inconsistent with its comprehensive values.

Tikvah then arranged to hold the conference at Chelsea Piers, and publicly accused the museum of engaging in cultural demise during a The Wall Street Journal Opinion. Officials at the sports complex were not aware of the dispute with the museum before that essay was published May 5, a spokesman said.

Now, facing the threat of protests and boycotts, the entertainment complex finds itself at the center of a fierce controversy over issues of identity, inclusion, religion and freedom of speech. And it has left Chelsea Piers in a predicament that is in many ways emblematic of the tense – and politically acrimonious – national dialogue around whether those with views that some people have considered disgusting or dangerous should be given a background or not.

“The bottom line is that Chelsea Piers is providing a venue to propagate hate against the LGBTQ community and that’s unacceptable on so many levels including that it’s Pride and that’s it. at Chelsea, the heart of the community,” said Senator Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat who represents the area. He helped lead calls for Chelsea Piers to cancel the event, which would also outstanding speech by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ron Dermer, the former Israeli ambassador to the United States.

On Friday, Chelsea Piers responded to the uproar by saying it would not be canceling the event and that it would not police the views of the tenants of their event space. They said they would instead donate the proceeds from the event to “groups that defend the LGBTQ+ community, and promote and amplify productive debates on LGBTQ+ issues.”

“We couldn’t disagree more strongly with many of Ron DeSantis’ actions in the office,” it said in an email not addressed to employees. “One response to disgusting behavior is to counter it with positive action.”

A spokesman for Mr. DeSantis declined to address the controversy and instead described the governor as a religious freedom fighter and friend of Israel.

“He has defended religious Floridians and their right to assemble and practice religion despite efforts from the left to lock down places of worship,” the campaign said. “The governor will always stand up for what’s right and will not be stopped by the radical left.”

Eric Cohen, chief executive of the Tikvah Foundation, declined to comment on the latest round of controversy on Friday, writing in an email that he was choosing to focus “on the event itself” and that the team was expecting “another event.” conference, with about 20 speakers, on the big questions facing Jews, Americans, Israelis and the West. “

In an interview last month, after the conference was left without a venue, Mr. Cohen dismissed the idea that Tikvah was hosting a partisan show.

“Our event endorsed no candidate and served no political party,” Mr. Cohen said. “It’s all about the idea.”

Chelsea Piers’ decision to raise money for LGBTQ groups did not appease critics, who are organizing a rally in front of Pier 60 on Sunday to coincide with the convention.

The New York City Gay Hockey Association, based at Chelsea Piers for more than two decades, wrote a letter to the complex’s management, saying its members felt “disappointed” , sad, and even banished.” It requires event cancellation.

The group’s board of directors wrote: “The Jewish Heritage Museum refuses to host this event. “We wish Pier 60 had approached this issue with the same oversight and respect for the community it serves, as well as the larger Chelsea Piers community.”

Other groups are canceling upcoming events at Chelsea Piers. Rich Ferraro, a spokesman for GLAAD, the LGBTQ advocacy group, said his organization will “restrict future events” at the complex, “based on the foundation Chelsea Piers is giving to one of the most dangerous and anti-LGBTQ politician today.”

The Ali Forney Center, a group that works with homeless LGBTQ youth in New York, said Friday it will no longer host shows there next month.

“People are saying this is about freedom of speech, but it’s not. It is in response to DeSantis being silent about free speech in schools,” the group’s president, Alex Roque, wrote in a statement.

Mr. Roque said the event was “a threefold insult” as it was taking place during Pride Month; in a gay neighborhood at an entertainment complex used by many gay people and their families; and in a complex built on a site of unique significance in New York’s gay history.

Chelsea Piers was built in the mid-1990s, but the area’s original piers were built as berths for ocean liners and other large ships in the early 1900s.

By the 1960s, the piers had fallen into disrepair, but they were soon reborn as a ramshackle shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth and a popular seaside hangout for those in need. gay men and others.

The area became synonymous with a kind of secret gay freedom in the following years Stonewall uprisingin 1969, occurred at the nearby Stonewall Inn and is considered by many to be the birth of the modern gay rights movement.

The area also attracts artists and photographers, who have depicted the scene at the pier in works that have been featured in recent exhibitions, which have been well received at venues such as Bronx Art Museum and Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art in Manhattan.

“This couldn’t have happened in a worse location,” Mr. Roque said. “And it sends really conflicting messages about what Chelsea Piers cares about. Their Instagram is now full of Pride Month posts, but doing this is the exact opposite of that. ”

Source link


News7g: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button