On March 2, 2023, the New York City Council voted to remove Councilmember Vickie Paladino (R-Queens) from the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addiction.
According to a spokesperson for City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (D-Queens), the Council voted to remove Councilmember Paladino from the Committee because of “a lack of confidence in her commitment to inclusivity that equitably reflects the needs of all New Yorkers on an essential issue of public health and safety.” That’s quite a word salad. What it means is this: Councilmember Paladino was punished for speaking out against Drag Story Hours being held in New York City schools. (Drag Story Hours are events in which drag queens—men dressed as flamboyant, over-the-top stereotypes of women—read stories to children.)
As Albany Update listeners and readers may recall, Councilmember Paladino was met with a firestorm of leftist denunciations last year when she dared to suggest that Drag Story Hours were inappropriate for schoolchildren. Following the March 2 vote, the Councilmember asserted that she had been targeted and retaliated against for opposing Drag Story Hours. According to the Queens Daily Eagle, Councilmember Paladino said that she was “‘disappointed’ in [Speaker Adams’s] decision to ‘ultimately cave to political pressure from a small but vocal group of radicals on the council and in the media.’” The Councilmember added, “‘This retaliation will not deter me in the slightest… Committee assignments are supposedly meant to bring a diversity of opinion to the issues of our city, [but] it’s clear that any deviation from radical progressive orthodoxy will not be tolerated… It is repugnant that our city is funding and promoting the sexualization and indoctrination of children in this way, and it is even more repugnant that speaking out for what’s right is apparently a punishable offense in our Council.’”
The Queens Daily Eagle reported that eight councilmembers—including all six Republican members and Democratic Councilmembers Robert Holden (D-Queens) and Kalman Yeger (D-Brooklyn)—voted against the removal of Councilmember Paladino from the Committee. Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) told the New York Post that Councilmember Paladino was disciplined despite the fact that the Council’s Ethics Committee found that she had committed no wrongdoing in speaking out against Drag Story Hour.
Councilmember Paladino noted that Drag Story Hour “‘has become an issue of national importance, with jurisdictions around the country waking up to the harms of sexual content and gender confusion being taught in our schools to children as young as kindergarten.’” The Councilmember is correct. Sadly, while other states take action to protect kids from indoctrination and sexualization, the New York City Council has chosen to cancel Vickie Paladino for speaking the truth.