Chelsea Piers facing backlash from LBGTQ groups over plans to host Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Chelsea Piers facing backlash from LBGTQ groups over plans to host Florida Governor Ron DeSantis 2
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A New York City institution is facing backlash over its plans to host an event that will feature Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as a guest speaker.

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The unrest, coming from local LGBTQ groups, is directed at brass at Chelsea Piers, who is set to host a conservative Jewish conference Sunday that will see DeSantis speak.

A protest against the recreational complex, which is situated a stone’s throw away from the Stonewall Inn, has been called for 8am Sunday, outside its entrance.

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It will likely see dissidents confront those looking to attend the conference, along with DeSantis as well, due to his signing of legislation that banned his state’s schools from teaching gender ideology to kids under 10, panned by the left as the ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill.’

It comes after a Jewish Museum backed out of a tentative rental agreement to host the event following protests seen due to plans to host DeSantis last month.  

Meanwhile, DeSantis, 43, has pressed on with his war on the woke through his conservative policies, which has sparked battles with predominantly progressive entities such as Disney, Hollywood, and even the president himself.

The unrest, coming from local LGBTQ groups, is directed at brass at Chelsea Piers, who is set to host a conservative Jewish conference Sunday that will see Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speak

The unrest, coming from local LGBTQ groups, is directed at brass at Chelsea Piers, who is set to host a conservative Jewish conference Sunday that will see Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speak

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Chelsea Piers, a recreation complex with a large event space at its Manhattan location, has come under fire from a variety of groups over its plans to host the event

Chelsea Piers, a recreation complex with a large event space at its Manhattan location, has come under fire from a variety of groups over its plans to host the event

A protest against the recreational complex, which is situated a stone's throw away from the Stonewall Inn, has been called for 8am Sunday, outside its entrance

A protest against the recreational complex, which is situated a stone’s throw away from the Stonewall Inn, has been called for 8am Sunday, outside its entrance

With that said, the politician is still poised to speak Sunday at the Jewish Leadership Conference, held by the Tikvah Fund, a conservative, pro-Israel Jewish organization. 

The private procession will be held at Pier 60. According to organizers, DeSantis will deliver a speech about the vibrancy of Jewish life in the Sunshine State.

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However, detractors and groups based in the neighborhood – which has long been a bastion for the local LGBTQ community – have expressed their ire over the event, due to policies by DeSantis they have deemed anti-gay.

On Wednesday a coalition of groups – including United Against Racism and Fascism NYC, Rise and Resist NYC, The Queer Liberation March, and pro-Jewish org Outlive Them NYC – called on citizens to join a planned protest outside Pier 60 Sunday morning.

‘Pier 60 is hosting a conference featuring ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Fl. Gov. Ron DeSantis,’ a post to social media Wednesday from protesters, billed as ‘Chelsea Queers Against Chelsea Piers,’ read.

The call to arms cited how organizers had already asked Chelsea Piers to call off the event due to DeSantis’ involvement – but were rebuffed.

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‘Elected representatives, queer, and Jewish community members all called on Chelsea Piers to act responsibly and reject hosting hate in this historically queer neighborhood,’ the groups wrote, noting in bold, enlarged letters: ‘They refused.’

The post then implored supporters of the cause to ‘join us in protest’ outside the venue Sunday, ‘at 8am sharp.’

On Friday, staff at Chelsea Piers reiterated that they would not be canceling the event, citing how it does not police the views expressed by those who rent its event spaces.

In an email to members of the storied entertainment and sports complex, brass wrote: ‘We could not disagree more strongly with many of Ron DeSantis’ actions in office.’  

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The unsigned message went on to assert: ‘One response to abhorrent behavior is to counter it with positive action.’    

On Friday, staff at Chelsea Piers reiterated that they would not be canceling the event, citing how it does not police the views expressed by those who rent its event spaces

On Friday, staff at Chelsea Piers reiterated that they would not be canceling the event, citing how it does not police the views expressed by those who rent its event spaces

The group then said it would donate the money it received from the event to ‘groups that protect L.G.B.T.Q.+ communities, and foster and amplify productive debates about L.G.B.T.Q.+ issues’ to show support for the gay community.

That caveat was not enough to appease the woke masses calling for the event to be cancelled – after a previous protest campaign saw The Jewish Leadership Conference lost one New York venue due to DeSantis being on its list of speakers.

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State Senator Brad Hoylman, the Manhattan Democrat who represents the Chelsea neighborhood, publicly panned Chelsea Piers for providing a venue for DeSantis to speak. 

‘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,’ the politician said.

The New York City Gay Hockey Association, which has been based at Chelsea Piers for more than two decades, has also demanded the event’s cancellation, penning a letter to brass saying members felt ‘disappointment, sadness and even repulsion’ over its decision to host the governor.

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What is the Parental Rights in Education law?

HB 1557 was introduced by two Republican members of the Florida Legislature – Representative Joe Harding and Senator Dennis Baxley.

They say the bill’s aim is to ’empower parents’ in their children’s education, and make teachers recognize the distinction between ‘instruction’ and ‘discussion.’

‘What we’re prohibiting is instructing them in a specific direction,’ Baxley said about how teachers lead students in a classroom. 

‘Students can talk about whatever they want to bring up, but sometimes the right answer is, ”You really ought to talk to your parents about that.”’

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It states that ‘classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur.’

Part of it applies to kids in kindergarten through third grade, while a vague portion bans all discussion of ‘sexual orientation or gender identity’ in a ‘manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate.’

It also requires districts to ‘adopt procedures for notifying a student’s parent if there is a change in the student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being,’ something LGBTQ advocates argue could lead to students being outed to their parents without the student’s knowledge or consent.

The state House approved the bill in February. It was passed in the state Senate on March 8 in a 22-17 vote. DeSantis signed it into law on March 28 and it will come into effect on July 1.

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‘The Museum of Jewish Heritage declined to host this event,’ the group’s board wrote. ‘We wish Pier 60 had approached this with the same scrutiny and reverence for the community it serves, as well as the larger Chelsea Piers community.’

LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD, meanwhile, said it would ‘refrain from future events’ at the complex, ‘given the platform that Chelsea Piers is giving to one of the most anti-LGBTQ and dangerous politicians today.’

The Ali Forney Center, a group that works with homeless LGBTQ youth in New York, announced Friday it would no longer be holding an event at Chelsea Piers next month.

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‘People are saying this issue is about freedom of speech, but it is not,’ the group’s president, Alex Roque, wrote in a statement.

Rouque went on to assert that the decision was ‘in response to DeSantis silencing freedom of speech in schools.’ 

Roque added the event was ‘a triple insult’ due to it being held during Pride Month in a predominantly gay neighborhood, in a complex built on a site that holds marked importance to the city’s gay community.

Prior to Chelsea Piers’ construction in the 1990s, the site was originally used for the docking of ocean liners and other large ships in the early 1900s.

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However, after falling into disrepair in the 60s, the site soon became as a de facto refuge for homeless LGBTQ youth, as well as notorious meeting place for gay men – soon becoming synonymous with gay culture in the city.

However, unlike The Museum of Jewish Heritage, staff at the Piers have remained defiant in the face of those calling for the event – and the venue as well – to be cancelled.

DeSantis has also remained similarly defiant, with his office asserting the politico will go through as planned with the appearance, citing the governor as a champion of religious liberty and a friend of Israel.

‘He has defended religious Floridians and their right to assemble and practice their religion in spite of attempts from the left to lockdown places of worship,’ a DeSantis spokesperson told The New York Times Friday. 

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‘The governor will always stand up for what is right and will not be deterred by the radical left.’

The Manhattan Museum of Jewish Heritage initially banned DeSantis from speaking at an event because he ‘doesn’t align’ with their values after signing the so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

Elliott Abrams and Eric Cohen, the CEO of Tikvah and co-chairmen of the Jewish Leadership Conference, called out the institution for canceling the June 12 conference where the Florida Governor was due to speak.

They slammed bosses in a May 5 Wall Street Journal piece that claimed staff would not air views of someone who did not align with their ‘message of inclusivity’.

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But on Friday the museum hit back and claimed the story was ‘a factually inaccurate opinion piece about a proposed rental event’.

It blasted the Tikvah Fund for ‘trying to create a fight where none exists’, adding it was a ‘contractual and logistical decision’ rather than a ‘free speech or censorship’ one.

Despite opposition, DeSantis has continued his war on the woke in recent months, most recently threatening to go after parents who take their children to Drag shows.

threatened to deploy Florida’s child protective services on parents who take their children to drag queen shows. 

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This week, the governor threatened to deploy Florida’s CPS on parents who take their children to such shows, after video surfaced of elementary school-aged kids dancing alongside men in drag with parents present at a Dallas gay bar. 

DeSantis’ signing of the of the contentious Parental Rights in Education bill also sparked a heated battle against Disney after the company opposed the change, with spurring the governor to strip the company of its special tax status in Florida last month. 

The guidance also saw DeSantis pitted against President Biden, who branded the guidance as ‘hateful’ earlier this year. 

The Parental Rights in Education Bill, which will go into effect July 1 after being signed by DeSantis in March, forbids discussing homosexuality or transgender issues for children in third grade or younger in Florida public schools.

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It comes after Jewish Museum backed out of a tentative rental agreement to host the event following protests seen due plans to host DeSantis last month

It comes after Jewish Museum backed out of a tentative rental agreement to host the event following protests seen due plans to host DeSantis last month

Abrams and Eric Cohen wrote in the Wall Street Journal: ‘We were working closely with the museum on the details for the June 12 event, until, out of the blue, we were told by the museum staff that Mr. DeSantis didn’t ‘align with the museum’s values and its message of inclusivity.’

They added: ‘Either we disinvite the governor, they said, or our event was unwelcome.’

But the museum were quick to dispute the claims, posting a scathing thread about the discussions on Twitter.

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They said: ‘Let us be clear: No one was banned or cancelled. No contract with the Tikvah Fund was ever signed for this rental event to be held at the Museum and no deposit was ever made.

‘This is not a free speech or censorship issue. The Tikvah Fund is trying to create a fight where none exists. This was simply a contractual and logistical decision.’

Tikvah describes itself as a philanthropic foundation, educational and cultural institution that has been around for more than two decades.

Their mission is to help develop and support the next generation of leaders for the Jewish people and the Jewish state.

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The museum has hosted other politicians, including then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo and then-Mayor Bill de Blasio. In April the museum hosted a conversation with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations

The museum has hosted other politicians, including then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo and then-Mayor Bill de Blasio. In April the museum hosted a conversation with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations

Both Adams and Cohen said they chose DeSantis because they said ‘a remarkable Jewish renaissance is under way in Florida.’

And, they wanted him to discuss the ‘Florida model’ since it has contributed to the growth and vitality of Jewish life in his state.

They also spoke of how DeSantis  supports the Jewish community and pointed out that they weren’t getting that same type of community support from their political leaders when they lived in New York.

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‘Our family is part of that renaissance. We moved from New York to Florida in January in large part because of the governor’s leadership.

‘COVID policies were at the forefront of our decision, but DeSantis fighting woke nonsense in schools and putting parental rights at the top of his agenda have also been positive.’

They added: ‘And our governor takes the safety and security of Jews in his state very seriously.’

When both Adams and Cohen asked for the museum for more details on why DeSantis was canceled, they were told by the museum’s CEO: ‘We don’t do politics, whether left or right.’

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Both argue that in 2018 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, then a Democratic candidate for Congress, was a featured speaker at an event at the museum, sponsored by the Immigrant Arts Coalition.

The event that drew widespread media attention including public criticism towards the museum for giving giving Ocasio-Cortez, a critic of Israel, a prominent to speak at a Jewish institution.

 ‘Does that ‘align with the museum’s values’? Is this the ideology we must all be forced to adhere to before renting space at the museum?,’ they asked, The New York Post reported.

The museum said that  DeSantis along with other elected officials were invited to visit the Museum of Jewish Heritage, A Living Memorial to the Holocaust for a tour of our new exhibition, ‘The Holocaust: What Hate Can Do,’ when it opens this summer.

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The ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill’ states that public school teachers in Florida will be banned from holding classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity after from kindergarten through grade 3.

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