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Lawmaker Accuses Constituents Of Hate Speech For Protesting Drag Queen Story Hour

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes claims that people protesting drag queens reading stories to five-year-olds is ‘hate speech.’ It’s absurd and he should apologize.


New York State Sen. Andrew Gounardes took to Twitter today to accuse some his constituents of engaging in “hate speech.” The target of his smear was a group of concerned citizens in Brooklyn’s, Gerritsen Beach neighborhood who objected to their local library hosting Drag Queen Story Hour, an international organization dedicated to having drag queens tell stories to children.

According a report in the Brooklyn Eagle, the leader of the protest is a father whose first name is Tag but declined to give his last name for fairly obvious reasons, not the least of which is that elected officials might accuse him of “hate speech.” He told the Eagle, “We’re talking about babies who can’t even grab the concept yet that they are boys or girls, never mind gender fluidity. A gender now is what we used to call a personality. Our children should be able to grow up and come to these decisions on their own just like everybody else.”

The event apparently was to include children younger than five years old. Outside the library today, small groups of protestors and counter protesters gathered and exchanged barbs. Although one might expect Brooklyn to welcome the drag queen story hour, there is more than one Brooklyn. Gerritsen Beach is not a hipster hood or full of pram-pushing, Volvo-driving Bernie supporters. It is a fairly conservative, working-class neighborhood.

Drag Queen Story Hour has been the subject of a rather heated debate among conservatives of late. It sparked the spat between The New York Post’s Sohrab Ahmari and National Review’s David French about how forcefully conservatives should attack and work to stop this kind of indoctrination of children. I think we can count these protesters in Gerritsen Beach as team Sohrab.

The way Gounardes chose to respond to the controversy says an awful lot about the debate within conservatism and the broader question of how kids should be exposed to the trans movement. By accusing the protestors of “hate speech,” Gounardes wasn’t just saying he disagreed with them. He also wasn’t just saying their concerns were groundless. He was saying that their concerns are so transgressive and offensive as to have no place in our discourse at all.

This is entirely unacceptable, and it speaks to why so many conservatives agree with Ahmari that we need to attack head-on not only the sexualization of children’s spaces, but an illiberal left that claims even bringing up the issue is hate speech. This is not a situation where we should respect all sides. Gounardes is slandering citizens with quite valid concerns about what their children are being exposed to in public libraries.

The trans movement and progressive politicians have invented out of whole cloth the idea that there is some consensus over whether men can become women or whether children should be exposed to drag queens. There is not. Nobody outside of the elites in the media, academia, and politics ever agreed to any of this, and people aren’t just going to accept it all out of fear of absurdly being accused of bigotry or hate speech.

The protestors are doing exactly what they are supposed to do: peaceably assembling to let their local government know they do not approve of its actions. Gounardes’ shameful attempt to paint them as bigots involved in hate speech is not only dishonest, it is incredibly dismissive of valid concerns expressed by his constituents. He should apologize to the protesters first, then sit down to hear their concerns.

On the whole, we should view today’s protests as a good development. Citizens are refusing to be silenced (even if they aren’t comfortable using their last names) in the face of a culture that is trying to lurch dangerously toward the libertine left without their consent or approval. If that can happen in Brooklyn, folks, it can happen anywhere.