Manhattan’s Deputy Beep Praises Anti-LGBTQ Group

Matthew S. Washington admires Focus on Family, anti-gay faith leaders, shares their sermons

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Manhattan Deputy Borough President Matthew S. Washington on May 4 used the Twitter profile on which he identifies in his official capacity to promote an infamous anti-LGBTQ and anti-women’s rights group known as Focus on the Family — and that’s only the latest example of his deep history of amplifying the messages of homophobes in the city.

Washington posted a photo from the crowd at Focus on the Family’s anti-abortion rally in Times Square and wrote, “#AliveFrom­NewYork Thank you @FocusFami­ly.” During the days leading up to the rally, Washington also retweeted the bigoted organization’s April 22 tweet previewing the event.

Focus on the Family’s website represents a mixture of homophobia, transphobia, and attacks on women’s reproductive rights. The site blasts bans on so-called gay conversion therapy, saying, “We also support an individual’s right to counseling for unwanted homosexual­ity,” and the organization also offers a guide explaining how parents should talk to their children “about homosexual­ity.” The site refers to transgender people in offensive ways by criticizing the “prominence of transgende­rism” while telling parents, “Nobody can really change from one sex to the other.”

In a written statement, Washington did not distance himself from the organization. He only expressed regret that he had not altered his Twitter bio to include a disclaimer indicating his tweets only represent his own views. On May 6, after inquiries from Gay City News to Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s office, he updated his bio to add “tweets are my own” alongside his name and job title.

“I am pro-life, and attended a pro-life rally, on my own time, on Saturday,” Washington told Gay City News. “I am sorry that my twitter feed was not labeled appropriately, and it is now.”

Brewer, who has long been a supporter of abortion rights and LGBTQ rights, defended her positions on those issues while stressing that Washington attended the rally and tweeted about it during his personal time.

“Everyone knows where I stand: access to abortion is legal and must remain so, which is what I said at Planned Parenthood’s Saturday rally; equality and empowerment for the LGBTQ community are a basic human right, which I’ve said on many other occasions; and the First Amendment allows everyone to have their own opinion,” Brewer told Gay City News. “The fact that a deputy borough president attended an anti-abortion rally on his own time — and tweeted that he did — doesn’t impact my stances. I’ve reiterated to my staff that any social media feeds must be labeled that their opinions are their own.”

Washington, until this week, was not in compliance with that edict.

In addition to serving under the borough president, Washington is also listed on the board of directors at the city’s Economic Development Corporation, where he handles capital and expense funding programs and serves as an office liaison for Manhattan economic development projects. He previously served as chair of East Harlem’s Community Board 11.

Washington’s budding career in New York City public service, however, hasn’t stopped him from spreading homophobic sermons and promoting homophobes. He frequently retweets posts by Carter Conlon, a senior pastor at Times Square Church who has said queer people must be set free “from homosexuality and other lifestyles that are a robbery of what God intended them to be,” and he routinely retweets another hate-filled homophobe — Pastor Jim Cymbala — who once said during a sermon that “men who have sex with men” are “wrongdoers” who “will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”

Washington appears to be a close follower of Cymbala, who serves as a pastor at the Brooklyn Tabernacle. In March of 2018, he tweeted a link to Cymbala’s book and directed followers to a link where they can purchase the book.

“God shows up in the lives of 7 people in #TheRescueBook by Pastor Jim Cymbala,” Washington tweeted.

Among the most shocking examples of Washington’s admiration for homophobes was seen in 2017 when he retweeted a sermon during which another Times Square Church pastor, Patrick Pierre, asked, “Are you having sexual encounters or performing sexual acts of any kind outside of biblically-defined marriage, which is between a husband and a wife?” Pierre then noted that “it’s alarming” how many people are “living in fornication” and ”sexual sin.”

“What’s even more alarming is when people are living in open disobedience to the word of God but refuse to turn,” Pierre added.

Washington’s tweets from the May 4 rally remain posted on his Twitter account at @MatthewStephenW.

Updated 10:04 am, May 8, 2019
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Reader feedback

Freespeach from Manhattan says:
Why people don't agree with LGBT are wrong and whatever LGBT said is correct?
May 8, 6:14 pm
Bigg dikk from Nimby says:
Disgusting . It's one thing to have gay urges it's another to act it out. Cut it out already.
May 9, 5:33 am
Jose Tiberius from Bronx says:
There is nothing wrong with his stance and he is exercising his constitutional rights to freely express his views. There are plenty of politicians who will say the right things not to offend while secretly not giving a damn about you. Matthew is an honest and upright man who serves honorably.
May 9, 1:58 pm
nathan riley from UWS says:
I write for Gay City News and these comments deserve an answer. Rejecting LGBTQ persons and insisting that if sex leads to a child a mother has no choice about her future are positions hostile to millions of people who live lives that Focus on the Family damns. By standing up for people who recognize that medicine offers women a choice or insisting that freedom allows people to love a person of the same sex we are expanding our humanity.
May 9, 2:55 pm
Natasha from Queens says:
I celebrate life, ALL life. To those of you who are of the LGBTQ community, I truly love you. I choose to LOVE ALL people! Why do you have so much hatred for those who hold a different view than yours? As a mother of two beautiful children, I teach them to love ALL people regardless of our differences, our race, our skin color, our economic background, our religion, our choices etc. Why are you slandering Matthew Washington with so much hate? He is an upstanding citizen, and has done nothing but good to all people. Have you seen Mr.Washington out in NY helping the homeless or giving a hug to a child whose father isn’t there for him? This is true love. What have we come to as a nation, when only one view, the LGBTQ view is the only view that is accepted and everyone who has a different view is accused of hatred and called awful names by the LGBTQ community? Why are you teaching and promoting hatred towards others who have a different view from yours? We all have certain freedoms in this great nation. Let us choose to use that freedom to love one another. God bless all of you in the LGBTQ community. He loves you all very much!
May 10, 8:47 am
Lizzette from Bronx says:
I don’t get it. This man has taken a stance to protect life and he’s being persecuted for it. Shall we only value life when it is out of the womb? There are MANY MANY MANY people in the LGTBQ community who are pro-life. The greatest form of love is to protect life. It is disappointing that you would be so closed minded. Leave the man alone!
May 10, 1:43 pm
Denise from New Jersey says:
This is absurd. Disagreeing with one's lifestyle choice does not mean homophobia. It's time to stop the nonsense and the noise. This is tantamount to bullying. Quote from Rick Warren- "Our culture has accepted two huge lies the first is that if you disagree with someone's lifestyle, you must hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense."
May 10, 3:13 pm
Steve from Manhattan says:
Religion is no excuse to deny rights to LGBTQ people and heterosexual women. Being gay isn't a lifestyle. It's not up to anyone to "disagree" with it, any more than it's legitimate for white superemacists to "disagree with the Jewish lifestyle." Bigots don't deserve tolerance and the "love" they offer is as fake as it gets.
May 10, 3:26 pm
MBPO Staffer from Manh says:
I am a staffer at the office. There has been NO communication from the Borough President to her staff addressing this. It's just been an email from the Chief of Staff telling people to tweet "opinions are my own", and an informal lunch/conversation set for next week, again emailed by the Chief of Staff. It is very dismaying to have no leadership from our principal. To not even acknowledge that people are understandably shocked, hurt, scared and angered by Matthew's actions just compounds the trauma.
May 11, 1:30 pm
Anne from Lower East Side says:
First, this man is not pro life. He is anti choice. These anti choice folks are not pro anything. Second, he has no business tweeting anything from his official twitter page whether it is his own opinion or not. Gale Brewer did a very poor job of vetting her staff. I am wondering why this person is so anti gay. Looks like he protesteth too much.
May 11, 6:12 pm
Jose Tiberius from Bronx says:
No Anne, Matthew is pro-life. When the child is in the womb of the mother, that child has it's own body. You can kill a cat and get a jail sentence but you can kill an unborn human child and be celebrated as being "pro-choice." Yup....makes mucho sense. What people are "shocked, hurt, scared or angered by Matthew's actions?" Beware rather of censorship that supports it's own position but can't acknowledge another position....
May 11, 7:42 pm

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