You are reading

Paladino Doubles Down: ‘It’s Not Hate Speech to Say Drag Queens Don’t Belong in Schools’

Councilmember Vickie Paladino, who represents northeast Queens, has ignited a firestorm after making a series of controversial statements concerning Drag Queen Story Hour (twitter)

June 17, 2022 By Christian Murray

Councilmember Vickie Paladino has faced an avalanche 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 a homophobic, cruel and dangerous for her harsh criticism of the city for funding Drag Queen Story Hour, a program that its advocates say promotes inclusivity and acceptance.

Paladino, a Republican who represents District 19 in northeast Queens, described the program as “unacceptable and grotesque” and tweeted Monday that “Progressives may have no problem with child grooming and sexualization, but I do.”

The City Council LGBTQIA + Caucus issued a statement Thursday calling for her to be formally censored and for her committee assignments to be removed.

“The recent comments made by Councilmember Vickie Paladino are unacceptable from anyone, let along an elected official. They are full of hate, intolerance and ignorance.”

But Paladino is not backing down from her comments and says that she is not promoting hate.

“It’s not hate speech to say drag Queens don’t belong in schools,” she tweeted Thursday. “I make zero apologies for that. Protecting children is my priority. Period. That is what I was elected for.”

She took a swipe at progressives and said that she now requires police security at her office.

“As my progressive council colleagues and their radical allies play victim and pretend that speaking against drag queens in elementary schools put them in ‘danger’, back in the real world my office now requires a police detail due to threats of violence from the leftist hate mob.”

The saga began Sunday when the NYPost reported that the non-profit organization Drag Queen Story Hour—and its predecessor group—had been awarded more than $200,000 in city contracts since 2018. The organization sends Drag Queens out to public schools, libraries and street festivals where its outrageously-dressed performers typically read to young students.

Paladino made a series of harsh remarks about the program as well as the city expenditure—which her critics have called ignorant.

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

“We are taking hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the pockets of hardworking New York taxpayers … to fund a program teaching little children about their gender fluidity? Not. On. My. Watch,” Paladino told the NYPost.

She then tweeted that she would yank funding from schools in her council district that partake in the program.

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

“Any school in my district participating in ‘drag queen’ degeneracy risks losing their funding. Adult drag performers have NO BUSINESS in our schools, and they will not be in my district. Period.”

Paladino has faced blistering attacks from many elected officials since making the statements, although there are some Republicans who have backed her up.

In Queens, most elected officials have slammed her for her comments.

“Could not be more revolted,” tweeted Astoria council member Tiffany Cabán. “Drag Story Hour NYC shows young, queer NYers that they’re valid, that they truly belong.”

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

Councilmember Linda Lee, whose eastern Queens district shares a border with Paladino’s, also weighed in. “I don’t make it a habit to comment on the conduct of my colleagues, but rhetoric accusing LGBTQ+ people of pedophilia — ‘grooming’ — is unacceptable and should never be uttered by anyone,” Lee posted on Twitter.

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

Meanwhile, Councilmember Lynn Schulman, who represents Forest Hills and surrounding areas, issued a statement that she was “saddened that a Council colleague would fuel hatred for any group that doesn’t fit what is considered ‘the norm.’”

She also tweeted that hatred shouldn’t be tolerated.

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

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

“I stand with all of my Council colleagues, LGBTQ+ communities, and New Yorkers in unequivocally denouncing Council Member Paladino’s repugnant views and statements against specific members of the Council and the trans community,” Adams said.

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

The New York Young Republican Club also came to her support and so too have some Republican candidates seeking office in Albany.

But the overwhelming majority of officials have expressed outrage following her 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 core to what the city embraces.”

Adams added that the goal is for New York’s children to be “academically smart” and “emotionally intelligent.”

email the author: [email protected]

66 Comments

Click for Comments 
On the stage, you nimrod!!

Divine! Dame Edna! Ru Paul!

My freaking neighbor, named Angus!!!

Reply
Nisa

Unfortunately, in some Cases this kind of Thinking seems to be Typical of Her Generation. Not Inclusive, Not Pro-Active, Not Forwarded Thinking; etc. And Perhaps, she still Believes that Trump Won the 2020 Election?? Seriously Sad!!

3
5
Reply
Daniella

This reminds me of a story my grandma told me about when she was young. Her brother hit her and scolded her for buying pants and wanting to wear them at a party. Well how times have changed. Now all woman wear pants. I predict in 10 to 20 years most men will own and wear dresses and skirts. I often see it in Astoria. I even seen bearded men in a dresses and skirts and no one cared. One was even pushing a stroller. Eventually this trend will be normal and common in the USA. Its the american way. Plus people outside the usa think of American men as being very feminine and not masculine compared to other areas of the world.

1
7
Reply
That was worldly different

Than wearing wigs, makeup for a Star Trek convention and whore shoes.

We can’t say the pledge of allegiance anymore, WHY should this be allowed???

6
4
Reply
David

The Christian religion actually forbids “oaths”. Pledge of allegiance is for cults and their believers

2
3
Reply
Carol

Statements like Paladino’s only make the LGBTQ community stronger and widens its base. Equality and justice for all!! People have too much to worry about than a Drag Queen Story Hour that promotes individuality and acceptance! I rather take my grandchildren to Drag Queen Story Hour than a Catholic priest story hour!!!

3
7
Reply
David

Drag is a type of entertainment where people dress up and perform, often in highly stylized ways. The term originated as British theater slang in the 19th century and was used to describe women’s clothing worn by men. How many women do you people know who dress and look like the person in the article? It’s a character. Get a grip. Paladino actually looks like she’s in drag. A drag king.

16
17
Reply
Rent a lib by the hour

Vicki is lovely – I will bet you aren’t! Interesting that you attack women for their looks! The tolerant Left LOL! Stay classy, libs!

4
5
Reply
Nobody said Vicki wasn’t lovely

Rent – That is a mens blazer Vicki is wearing in the above photo. Are you denying that?

5
1
Reply
Clifford the big red dog

Is a character. Spider-Man is a character.

Dressing like you just came from a Vegas show is NOT this.

At all.

3
2
Reply
Maybe Kiss

Clifford, who ever looked like this coming from or going to a Vegas show? I’ll make it easy for you, name just one…

2
2
Reply
Gardens Watcher

You’re not still in school, copycat? Could’ve fooled me.

Plagiarism can get you kicked out of school. Get your own posting name already.

7
8
Reply
Martha

She will be voted out eventually. Children nowadays love Drag Queens. When i was young people wanted a clown at their birthday party. Now they ask for a Drag Queen. I watch Generation Drag on TLC. Its a great show.

8
31
Reply
I think Andrew is overcompensating

…for his father Rudy being a drag queen. You shouldn’t be ashamed. You should be proud of your family and accept them for who they are. This is NYC, not Alabama.

14
25
Reply
Mickey

Hey Martha, do 4 years old ask to go see a Drag Queen Show? My neighbor’s grandson got scared and was crying.I think Burt and Ernie are more appropriate at this age.

Reply
Michael

Hey Mickey, my daughter was scared by Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck in Disney World. Your comparison?

2
2
Reply
LIC Direct

Thank the snake Jimmy “Photo Op” Van Bramer to starting this nonsense. Let’s Vote Caban and other politicians who don’t represent us and our family values, like we did with JVB. We have nothing against reading to kids just don’t use our tax dollars to fund it, they can volunteer just like any other citizen who wants to read to kids volunteer their time.

31
9
Reply
Debra

Most straight folks think of RuPaul and his Drag Race show when they think of Drag Queens. That show is toned down for a younger audience. Visit a real drag queen show at a local bar. All i heard was strong explicit language, disgusting sexual innuendo, and over-the-top behavior to the point where I felt uneasy about being there. I was standing by a wall and the host made fun of my dark complexion. I think its called reading. She said smile cuz i cant see you! The lights were dim. The host was even flashing her new breasts.

22
9
Reply
Barbara

Why not Drag King Story Hour? Its kind of sexists only to hire men in dresses!

17
5
Reply
Jess

If parents had a problem with it they would speak up. Apparently i have not heard any major complaints. There is already funding for it and what she says in nonsense. Drag Queen Story Hour is already in school and here to stay.

6
26
Reply
Your tax dollars at work!

Another reason to pull your kids out of public school! Do you even have kids? Something tells me you don’t!

24
10
Reply
Fran

Most public schools live in poverty and are immigrants or 1st generation americans. Thus many parents do not speak english and have little involvement in nyc public education other than wanting a longer school year or day. This is exactly who elites and progressives go after. The poor to control what they learn and think they need. Rich folks removed their kids from public school or moved out of the city. Thats why the nyc public school population is declining.

Reply
Emily

Drag Queen Story Hour “Shantay you stay.” Vickie Paladino “Sashay Away!!”

5
19
Reply
Jacob

Young learners are concrete learners and thinkers. Hard for them to grasp the concept of being yourself by introducing them to a man who dresses and looks like a woman to them. Its just to abstract. IMO, drag queens may promote gender stereotypes for children by promoting unrealistic feminine beauty standards. Kind of like how we used to teach girls to be a princess. Once they grow to understand that its a man in a dress they begin to associate the concept of being gay as acting feminine, wanting to wear a dress and wanting to look like and be a woman. This also effects children and teens who begin to like the same sex.

15
4
Reply
Why can't they just dress like women.

Regular women’s clothes, normal day to day shoes, regular, non star Trek convention makeup. Shave yeh legs!!!!

No woman dresses like these people. Don’t make your circus side show obvious.

36
3
Reply
Beatrice

I agree. It would more beneficial to bring in people from different social and ethic backgrounds and/or jobs to promote acceptance and being yourself. For example, bring in white and blue collar workers to read books about getting along and being yourself. Bring in cops, firefighters, dentists, secretaries, painters, mechanics, dry cleaners, cooks, waiters, etc. People of all backgrounds and genders including people who happen to be gay. Imagine how wonderful it would be for a female mechanic to read a book or a male nanny. Would be wonderful if they included parents of children who attended the school to show and represent diversity and understanding. Let the children recognize the commonality and differences and celebrate them. Think about how wonderful it would be to bring in two “gay” dads or two moms who are in a couples raising a child and have them read about a book about different types of families. So many possibilities. Call it Neighborhood story hour.

15
2
Reply
David

Woke was created and continues to exist at the altar of idiocy known as Fox News.

7
21
Reply
Smh

So Juumane Williams who wears a “Stay Woke” Button on his lapels is a Fox News Supporter?

12
2
Reply
Jim

Didn’t realize all those trans fans that want to cancel JK Rowling and Chapelle for their comments are true right wing Republicans.

12
1
Reply
Smh

Not anymore. Now it’s the Democratic Party. CRT and the belief that your biological gender doesn’t matter and it’s how you feel determines your gender nonsense is brainwashing kids.

21
4
Reply
Gullible Republicans believe myths fairytales and conspiracy theories

SMH-Gullible Republicans will be anything including your ridiculous comment.

4
16
Reply
Smh

So what do you call all the nonsense Biden spewed recently on the state of the economy? Facts? Do you believe him?

11
2
Reply
David

@smh- When you get raked over the coals you love to jump off topic. I use your trolling as examples to my students about internet bullying, anonymity, misinformation and lack of etiquette. Thanks for the help.

2
2
Smh

OMG! You are a teacher?!?!? My God, what kind of biased nonsense do you teach these poor kids!?!? But I will help educate your students. The poster who has the longest moniker in these posts likes to believe Republicans are gullible to whatever FOX News feeds us. I am just showing the hypocrisy by countering that Liberals will believe anything they hear especially from senile Joe. Senile Joe denies that government spending leads to inflation. And to see the kind of twit your teacher is look up the post where he said based on his personal experience, empirical data should not be used to show blacks commit the most crime in our society. Learn the truth and think for yourselves, kids.

5
2
Hollywood Adams

Vicki is correct
Drag shows are for adults not for kids
Caban is a virtue signaling radical who probably has no use for children except to use them as props
The radicals are trying to exploit our kids to normalize behavior that the parents may not like
I have seen enough of mayor Adams
He needs to go

43
5
Reply
JM Maspeth

Child grooming? The latest paranoid moronic conspiracy nonsense percolating through the mainstream right. Those idiots arrested on their way to cause havoc at the pride parade in Idaho last week were mouthing off the same idiocy. Paladino is a bigot and a disgrace. What’s worse is she’s proud of it because she knows it will win her votes among the white christian “victim” constituency.

8
38
Reply
A time and a place for everything

“Hate speech” is a convenient label liberals apply to anything they don’t agree with or want to hear. It’s intellectual laziness that allows them to avoid any meaningful debate or discussion because they know down deep that their ideas and beliefs do not stand up to even the mildest scrutiny. Some like this one are downright despicable by any moral standard.

Drag queens belong in night clubs where adults go and NOT in schools. Perhaps they should serve vodka martinis as well in school.

Children need an education and not a lifestyle indoctronation.

68
7
Reply
Really?

I agree with one of the comments above – there should be a ‘discretion advised’ qualifier to parents on this, or some kind of discussion beforehand about what should be considered age-appropriate. Using threats of cutting funding and trotting out that ‘grooming’ line about the ‘radical left’ is waaaaaay beyond the pale about what needs to happen here. If she was concerned about children and not just earning points with the base, she wouldn’t use Twitter to lead in with aggression and name calling.

7
23
Reply
The truth hurts

It IS grooming. The more the Left freak out over the word, the more I know it’s true. Dress it up any way you like, it is what it is.

31
9
Reply
"Dress it up any way you like"

Wait, I thought people dressing the way they like is what offended you, now you’re saying it’s ok?!

5
9
Reply
lol

I don’t love drag queens either, but that doesn’t mean it’s grooming. Let’s do some math on how many kids have been sexually abused by drag queens vs. how many have been sexually abused by Republicans. You certainly have a head start with Dennis Hastert.

5
16
Reply
David

Somebody playing dress up is grooming to you. Please explain it to those of us who don’t get a sexual thrill out of people dressing up in costume.

5
9
Reply
Republicans don’t believe in facts truth or history

As Trump said, if a lie is repeated enough they’ll believe it.

9
5
Reply
Republicans believe in myths fairytales and conspiracy theories

The “ left freaking out?” You appear to be freaking out. Project much?

3
12
Reply
Elections matter

Vote this twit out. NYC Council should muzzle her the way they marginalized Holden and just wait until redistricting when they get majority minority districts and are summarily voted out.

Also, I think her taxpayer salary should be withheld and diverted towards the discretionary funds she threatens to deny schools in her district. How can Paladino and Holden’s salary be withheld to fund the improvements that aren’t happening in their districts due to their incompetence? Holden does not go to hearings or his district office and has not fully staffed up in the 5+ years he has been there. Surely this is some kind of violation? Or are elected officials simply allowed to bloviate instead of work? Where is the money going?

11
58
Reply
Enough with the hate

I think we all know teachers who came out as gay were fired for the same bigoted logic this Councilmember is using. Are we really reverting to those days?
Every teaching artist, sub, para, aide, etc., is fingerprinted.
These storytellers aren’t doing the same show they would at a bar.

8
38
Reply
Gardens Watcher

I was directing my comment at Paladino, but it applies universally and it is not a hateful statement. The quote is from the finale of Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Into the Woods.”

4
11
Reply
I think I know more than you

Don’t talk about stuff you don’t know.

Public school teachers who come out as gay are not only revered, but get away with murder. They keep in taking three and four sometimes five day weekends, post your apparent illnesses on Facebook (BBQs!) And then think you DON’T deserve the letter in your file??? Think again!!!

All the gay teachers have to do is pull out the discrimination card.

1
1
Reply
Mitch

Parents should be able to decide for themselves whether or not they want their children to participate in drag queen story hour. As a gay man, I have been to Drag Queen performances involving hosts and performers at gay bars and clubs for adults. Adult comedy is often used in addition to lip syncing songs. In the shows I have seen (and i have been to many), most hosts used profanity, insults, sex, race, gender, ethnicity and so forth as a way to entertain people. Many of the jokes were very sexual in nature and often racists, xenophobic, and sexists. Lets just say it would be deemed inappropriate or offensive outside of the scene. Now I understand that none of that would be taking place at a school however I do believe that we have to hold guests and those who work with children to a higher standard. If an educator was recorded saying what I heard said at any type of gathering or second job they would be fired. I am just being honest. Parents should be required to send the school a permission slip to have their child attend like they do for school trips.

52
3
Reply
Jim

Maybe Ms. Paladino’s words are extreme but I am sick of Tiffany Caban and people like her who think that they own the moral high ground, that they are right all the time and everyone who disagrees with their morality or opinions are ignorant. Tiffany Caban is probably the most obnoxious politician in NYC and that is quite a title!

61
9
Reply
Rodrigo

So, when did you become a “Queen” that you have the Right to give Tiffany Caban a Title??

2
2
Reply
stop the insanity

Of course she is right. All the gay people I know also think she is right. Next they’ll be talking about pedophiles rights.

53
9
Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News