LGBTQ+ rights activists protested a conservative conference at Chelsea Sunday which promoted Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as one of its key speakers.
Fury raged over the Tikvah Fund for hosting the right-wing DeSantis at its Jewish Leadership conference at Chelsea Piers, an area with a storied role in gay rights history. Many opponents believed DeSantis’ presence Sunday served as a slap in the face to the LGBTQ+ community because of his support and enacting of Florida legislation outlawing sexual orientation instruction in schools, commonly referred to by opponents as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
DeSantis infamously signed-off on the legislation this past March — something that has advocates calling this a step backwards for LGBTQ+ rights and a promotion of homophobia.
The protesters made clear Sunday DeSantis and his right-wing views weren’t welcome in their community.
Assembling at the entrance to Pier Sixty between West 19th and 20th Streets, the group brought signs, chants, and unbridled rage. Prominent elected officials also joined the chorus of boos and a call to boycott Chelsea Piers.
“It’s an insult that Chelsea Piers is welcoming one of, if not the most, anti-LGBTQ+ governors in the whole country. It’s disrespectful, it’s wrong, and I will do everything I can on the national level,” Congress Member Carolyn Maloney told amNewYork after arriving at the protest.
LGBTQ+ rights activists protested a conservative conference at Chelsea Sunday which promoted Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as one of its key speakers. Story: https://t.co/4W3mN7EyVD pic.twitter.com/0T84LRr4kC
— Dean_Moses (@Dean_Moses) June 12, 2022
As conference attendees poured out of their taxicabs and Ubers, they were forced to come face-to-face with heartache. Thrusting signs reading “Say Gay” and “Transphobia is not Kosher,” participants ran by, with some even concealing their faces with their jackets. The protesters implored for those arriving to turn around and go home.
“We will hold corporations like Chelsea Piers accountable. It is not enough to change your logo during Pride Month. Today Chelsea Piers has let the LGBTQ community down in the biggest way imaginable. They are letting the most anti-LGBTQ elected official in the United States of America use this pier as a venue to spread his hatred and we reject that,” state Senator Brad Hoylman said.
In response to the ire drawn from the LGBTQ+ community and advocates, Chelsea Piers released a statement via their social media denouncing DeSantis’ actions in office, and vowing to donate all proceeds from the conference to the LGBTQ+ community.
“Over the past 24 years, Pier Sixty has hosted hundreds of influential and notable events that span the spectrum of social and political issues. Pier Sixty has never controlled the content, program, or speakers at these events. Having said that, we could not disagree more strongly with many of Ron DeSantis’ actions in office. One response to abhorrent behavior is to counter it with positive action. Accordingly, Pier Sixty will direct every dollar it receives from Tikvah group that protects LGBTQ+ communities and foster and amplify productive debates about LGBTQ+ issues,” part of the statement read.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.