Bay Ridge allies protest pol’s anti-LGBTQ+ remarks amid series of anti-queer incidents in nabe

A group of fed-up protesters showed up outside a politicians office,
A group of fed-up protesters rallied outside Assembly Member Alec-Brook Krasny’s office last week after the pol doubled down on anti-LGBTQ+ remarks.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

A group of LGBTQ+ allies protested outside Assembly Member Alec Brook-Krasny’s Bay Ridge office on June 26, a few weeks after the politician made public remarks that left some members of the neighborhood feeling ostracized. 

LJ Vogel, co-director of Gay Ridge, a non-profit ally organization in South Brooklyn, said the protesters showed up with signs boasting supportive messages for the queer community.

“Every couple of minutes there was this chant ‘You’re paid to represent us but you speak like you resent us,’” he said. 

The group was spurred to action after the politician made public comments at a Community Board 10 meeting regarding transgender people. He later doubled down on his statement on Twitter, calling members of the LGBT+ community “hyper-sexual.

Protesters call out a series of anti-queer incidents in Bay Ridge.
Protesters called out a series of anti-queer incidents in Bay Ridge outside Assembly Member Alec Brook-Krasny’s office on June 26. Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

In response to his remarks, some locals drew queer supportive art outside his office, but that chalk work was later defaced, as previously reported by Brooklyn Paper. 

Members of Gay Ridge, Fight Back Bay Ridge and Bay Ridge Democrats met outside Krasny’s office in hopes of having a conversation with the Assembly Member, but all attempts of doing so got them nowhere, according to Vogel. 

“He didn’t seem to be taking us seriously and decided that it wasn’t even worth it to stick around to hear us out,” he said. “We were the people that he’s supposed to be representing. It looked like he thought it was some silly little thing.”

Brook-Krasny did not return requests for comment.

Instead of meeting with the protesters, Vogel said, Brook-Krasny walked up with an arrogant demeanor and recorded them. 

Three ally organizations showed up to the protest
Three ally organizations — GayRidge, Fight Back Bay Ridge and Bay Ridge Democrats — participated in the protest. Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

The crowd was instructed to call into the office to make appointments but when they tried calling, Vogel said the line didn’t even ring, causing them to wonder if the line had been disconnected.

Later in the afternoon, the group leader noticed police cars nearby, which he assumed were there to make sure everyone was safe. Soon after, a police detail escorted the Assembly Member and one of his staff members out, because they were allegedly afraid for their safety.

“Someone who is in fear for their life does not approach a group of protestors smirking with their phone out. If I was afraid, I would walk the other way,” Vogel said.

The protest came after a series of anti-LGBT+ incidents in the neighborhood. Multiple pride flags have been torn down from their posts, and one Bay Ridge resident said her door was kicked in and some pride paraphernalia was taken from her yard. In April, a vandal ripped down a pride flag and burned it on the sidewalk on 3rd Avenue. 

Margaret Farrara said she returned home on Thursday, June 22 to see her door open, but she didn’t immediately notice any of her flags taken. Later that afternoon when her daughter came home, they discovered the pride flag from their garden in a trash can up the block, along with a pride bandana that was on a chair cushion in front of her house.

Margaret Farrara, mother of a transgender daughter, showed up to the protest
Margaret Farrara, mother of a transgender daughter, joined the protest just days after her home was allegedly vandalized. Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

“I’m not putting up with this,” she said.“People think I’m afraid but I’m really not. I’m not afraid for myself but because I have a transgender daughter.”

She wasn’t able to catch the vandals on camera but if she had, Farrara said she would’ve pressed charges. 

“Now I’m mad, like you can’t do that. You can’t come into my space,” she said. “My daughter should be able to walk down the street and not be afraid.”

Farrara said the police responded to the incident, and she and a neighbor who also had his pride flag taken filled out a report. 

According to NYPD hate crime reports, no anti-LGBTQ+ incidents were reported in the 68th Precinct — which includes Bay Ridge — in 2022 or in the first three months of 2023. 

Vogel believes there could be a discrepancy between the number of incidents occurring and police stats due to members of the community not feeling comfortable going to the police with these concerns. 

“There’s definitely some discrepancy,” he said.“We have a lot of people who don’t trust the police will take care of these situations and treat them with the respect they are deserving of.”

The team showed up with supportive messages
The team showed up with supportive messages and left them outside the politician’s office. Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

In the meantime, he says it’s up to allies and fellow neighbors to call out homophobic attacks and help the queer community feel supported. 

“We know these things won’t stop until the community as a whole stops tolerating them,” he said. “Local organizations like GayRidge aim to provide spaces for queer residents and allies that are safe and can hopefully provide a sense of comfort and community.”