Marsha P. Johnson State Park is a special place, and not just for the gorgeous East River views.

Renamed in honor of the trans icon and activist Marsha P. Johnson in 2020, the park has been home to several events designed to bring the community together and continue Johnson’s legacy of activism and mutual aid. Last Friday’s Transgender Day of Visibility kicked off a series of celebratory events, including a Drag Story Hour taking place the following Saturday afternoon.

So when Alex Stein, a far right YouTube personality, showed up to protest the event, counter protestors banded together in full force to prevent his hateful rhetoric from tarnishing an event meant to teach kids about literacy and being comfortable in your skin. Stein gained notoriety by sexually harassing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez while she was on her way to work and is known for his COVID-19 vaccine denial.

In a video that Stein shared on Twitter, counter protestors can be seen using umbrellas to try to prevent him from entering the premises. He eventually makes his way inside and a heavy police presence corrals him into his own barricaded section, where he’s joined by a smattering of other protestors. Talia Jane, a freelance journalist who covers extremism, shared additional videos of the event on Twitter, revealing one of the protestors as David Nieves, a Brooklyn man who was arrested for assault at another drag story time last year.

Violence against the trans community has been on the rise, including through the proliferation of bills targeting trans youth trying to access gender-affirming care making their way through various state legislatures. Across the country, drag story times have seen an increase in opposition, with critics citing misplaced fears about pedophilia and exposing children to sexual material. Just a few weeks ago, members of the extremist group Proud Boys showed up to protest a drag story hour hosted by Attorney General Letitia James in the West Village.


Hate has no place in our neighborhood, and we’re glad that counter-protestors way outnumbered the transphobes on display.

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  1. First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
    —Martin Niemöller
    Ban the guns that kill our youth – not books, or ideas or people.

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