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#WalkAway Leader Sues LGBT Center

Gay Trump fan claims discrimination, defamation from nixed town hall

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Less than three months after the out gay leader of the #WalkAway movement told Gay City News he was “going to actively pursue any legal action” against the LGBT Community Center for canceling his group’s planned event there in March, he followed through and sued the venue for discrimination and defamation to the tune of $20 million.

Brandon Straka, who is the face of the movement to encourage Democrats to ditch the party, filed the suit on Friday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, according to the New York Post.

“I am taking a stand on my own behalf and on behalf of all people in this country who are under attack for what they believe,” Straka told Gay City News in an email on June 17.

The scrapped “town hall” event was set to feature Straka along with Blaire White, Mike Harlow, and Rob Smith, all of whom are involved in the #WalkAway movement. But hundreds of people signed a letter calling on the event to be canceled, sparking a wave of backlash that culminated with the Center pulling the event at the last minute.

The Center said in a public statement after nixing the event that it reserves the right to cancel any event that promotes discriminatory speech or bigotry or negatively impacts other groups or people.

“Permitting this event to proceed would make many of our community members feel unsafe,” the Center said at the time the event was canceled.

White has caught considerable flak for divisive rhetoric, including a YouTube video in which she went after other transgender women who she said “lie” to men they date about their gender identity and where she said the answer to the “migrant crisis” is to “gas em.”

Straka, who bailed on the March interview with Gay City News after struggling to respond to questions about his lack of voting in recent elections and changes to his voter registration, told Gay City News on June 17 that he did not “want” to sue the Center, but was left with two choices.

The first, he said, was to “Allow The Center, the progressive activists mob who attacked us, and the liberal/ LGBT media to have the final word in this situation — labeling me, my fellow panelists, and my organization racists, bigots, homophobic/ transphobic, a hate group, and a danger to the community.”

Those labels, he added, will follow him and his organization for the rest of his life because they will reside on the Internet and in media archives.

He said his second choice was to “Take a stand and take back the narrative of who I really am and what #WalkAway really is.”

“Every day in this country, good people who are not racists, who are not bigots, who are not homophobic, who are not bad people — people who support our president or the conservative movement — are verbally and physically attacked, are intimidated into silence, and have their jobs and relationships and livelihoods put in danger,” Straka continued. “Why? Because they have a political position that is not accepted by the controlled media norm or the narrative that societal bullies deem approved. I grew up enduring homophobia, violence, and bullying — and now, I see the LGBT community misusing their newly acquired power and position to engage in these very same behaviors to silence people.”

In his long email response to Gay City News, Straka said he hopes the lawsuit brings “raised awareness for who and what I am, what #WalkAway is, and what our message and mission is all about, and to show LGBT Americans that we are living in the most luxurious time ever in our existence.”

“It is time for us to forgive the past, embrace the future, embrace our American privilege — and come together to provide aid to ACTUAL oppressed and victimized LGBT people around the world,” he said.

Straka’s call for forgiveness apparently excluded the Center. A spokesperson for the Center brushed off Straka’s multi-million dollar lawsuit, telling Gay City News that it “lacks merit and we stand by our original statement.”

Straka is not only targeting the Center. The Trump supporter also issued a thinly veiled threat on Twitter June 16 to the wider community of “leftists,” saying, “Your reign of terror is coming to a close.”

“There WILL be consequences for your actions,” Straka wrote. “If you continue to label all those in political disagreement with you Nazis, white supremacists, racists, & ruin people’s lives — you better have your checkbook handy.”

Straka, like others involved in the #WalkAway movement, left the Democratic party in the time following Trump’s election, despite the growing list of actions the president has taken against the LGBTQ community during his time in office.

He rips those who consider his movement to have roots in racism, but on multiple occasions he has dedicated tweets to praising white men. In one tweet, he said, “Thank you straight, white men for all you do and all the shit you put up with!” In another, he said used a heart emoji to express his love for white men before adding, “In a time where liberal hatred of whiteness and maleness is considered a badge of honor — let it be known that we have nothing but love and open arms for our white heterosexual brothers.”

He also retweeted a Twitter post on June 14 from controversial conservative journalist Chadwick Moore, who criticized the City of New York because “taxpayer-funded Gay Pride advertisements explicitly don’t include any white people.”

“This is intentional,” Moore complained. “Gay white men founded that Mattachine Society and rioted at Stonewall. LGBT is now-Marxism, not ‘gay rights.’”

In the meantime, Straka appears to have set his sights on other cities to host the town hall. On June 15 he announced in a tweet that a #WalkAway town hall will be held in Chicago on June 29. It is not clear where in Chicago that event is slated to take place.

Updated 6:01 pm, June 17, 2019
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Reader feedback

Dan from The burbs says:
The professional left wants us to believe that it's good to force Masterpiece Bake Shop to decorate a gay wedding cake against their beliefs AND that it's OK for The Center to NOT allow certain groups to use the taxpayer-subsidized Center due to political beliefs. Hard to square that circle, but give it your best shot.
June 18, 6:31 am
Scott from Jacksonville says:
I like how the article makes broad statements like "despite the growing list of actions the president has taken against the LGBTQ community during his time in office" but yet you haven't included the list for analysis or discussion? Lazy journalism. At least include it so it can be debated! Doesn't give you much credibility. I still enjoy a lot more freedom under Trump not only as a gay man but as an American then what our brothers and sisters enjoy in many other countries. But you wouldn't fight for their freedoms would you? Cause it's easier to make character puns at a president who actually doing a pretty good job. I remember the day he was elected...my God. The world was going to end. He was going to push the big red button and destroy the world. Gloom gloom gloom. What is also obvious is that when you leftists can't win an argument on one particular topic, you have to blur the lines by bringing up completely irrelevant information. Like quoting comments from "White" about his views on transgender persons and migrants. What the hell has that got to do with Brandon and his fight against the town hall? If this person did make offensive comments that should be dealt with separately. And I would hope that it is. But don't attempt to discredit Brandon's character and his right to protest by bringing in the actions of a third party. How bizarre. Finally, the left continuously attack straight white men for being the most privedged and vile humans on Earth. Good on Brandon for being inclusive and letting our straight brothers and sisters that support us know that we aren't all here to play identity politics and be devisive. PS isn't it great to see African American, Hispanic American, Asian American, ALL American unemployment at the lowest levels under this administration? Interesting that the highest rates of homelessness and disadvantaged people live in cities run by the Democrats. Hmmm
June 18, 8:17 am
Matt Tracy says:
Hi Scott from Jacksonville, We outline the actions Trump has taken against the community on a regular basis. Here are just a few of those actions: Trump Guts Trans Protections https://www.gaycitynews.nyc/stories/2019/12/trump-guts-trans-health-protections-2019-05-29.html?utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=misclinks&utm_source=article_body&utm_content=intra Health Care Providers Win License to Discriminate https://www.gaycitynews.nyc/stories/2019/10/righttodeny-health-2019-05-02-gcn.html?utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=misclinks&utm_source=article_body&utm_content=intra Trump Proposes Trans Shelter Ban https://www.gaycitynews.nyc/stories/2019/11/transgender-housing-politics-2019-05-23-gcn.html?utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=misclinks&utm_source=article_body&utm_content=intra Trans Military Ban Takes Effect https://www.gaycitynews.nyc/stories/2019/9/transban-military-2019-04-25-gcn.html State Department Fighting Citizenship of Gay Couple’s Son https://www.gaycitynews.nyc/stories/2019/11/surrogacy-citizenship-legal-2019-05-12-gcn.html?utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=misclinks&utm_source=article_body&utm_content=intra Trump Administration reverses Obama’s protections for trans students https://www.gaycitynews.nyc/stories/2017/4/w26490-sessions-quickly-begins-retreat-lgbtq-rights-2017-02-16.html?utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=misclinks&utm_source=article_body&utm_content=intra
June 18, 8:49 am
Fred Sargeant from Vermont says:
Clearly, Straka, White, Harlow and Smith should just walk away and join a straight pride event. They'd feel more comfortable among neo-Nazis, Confederate flag waving, seig heiling, gap toothed morons running those events. This lawsuit won't even get a hearing.
June 19, 7:45 am
Ron Spainhour from New York City says:
Scott: How old are you and what do you know about the history of discrimination against the LBGT community and the history of gay rights?
June 19, 1:44 pm
Dave from Inwood says:
Brandon has every reason to be opposed to his treatment by The Center. They should have a better procedure in place for accepting and scheduling groups. They should have a one month review process. This would require research and diligence prior to approval And when a controversial group is accepted The Center needs to make an effort to educate it's members they understand freedom of ideas is more important than topical bs. The Center traffics is too rooted in day to day bs. Why cause this public discourse? No matter Brandon's views , He has a right to have them and the way this was handled gives him ammunition.
June 24, 8:23 pm
Doug from Washington State says:
Brandon is right. Allow free speech on both sides of the aisle. Even if it hurts someone's feelings. Teach children (and adults) that people will say crappy things but they are only words and we have words too. Fight back with logic and reason. It might take a while but we come out at the end with our dignity and individual freedoms intact.
June 26, 9:06 am
Jackie from Columbia, Missouri says:
I like everyone. But my feeling is life isn’t easy as it is. Why should I make my life any harder by not being happy with my own gender. Why is sex always an issue. If I wasn’t interested in men, I would have a girlfriend. Whether we have a sexual relationship is no one else’s business. When are people going to keep their personal lives to themselves!
June 27, 4:38 am

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