New York City Councilor Justin Brannan regrets using anti-gay rhetoric on the punk rock scene: “Indefensible and hurtful”


Brooklyn City Councilor Justin Brannan said he used an “indefensible and hurtful” anti-gay slogan twice while touring the city’s hardcore punk scene.

Brannan, a Democrat representing Bay Ridge who aims to become chairman of the board next year if he first wins in a close re-election race, made the offensive remarks in an interview and a written letter published in underground music mags since the late 1990s and mid-2000s.

“No matter the context or the intent, whether you are gay or straight, it is an offensive, indefensible and hurtful term,” Brannan told The Daily News after being asked about his past comments. “I apologize for the harm I caused decades ago. I have always been an ally of the LGBTQ community and I always will be.

New York City Councilor Justin Brannan

New York City Councilor Justin Brannan (Barry Williams /)

In the interview, published in the June 2006 issue of Ear Candy Magazine, Brannan, then 27, used the anti-gay insult in a self-deprecating manner while explaining that everyone in his group Most Precious Blood were vegans.

“I’m sure there are some meat-headed kids out there who might be in love with us, but then they find out we’re like vegans and now think we’re a bunch of f —– and we do not love each other anymore. But whatever, ”he told the point of sale. “We’re not going to push stuff down people’s throats, but neither are we going to hide stuff just to sell more records or to be more palatable.”

It wasn’t the first time Brannan had casually used the expression.

Most Precious Blood is pictured in London in 2007. Justin Brannan (far right), Rachel Rosen, Rob Fusco, Matt Miller and Colin Kercz are pictured.

Most Precious Blood is pictured in London in 2007. Justin Brannan (far right), Rachel Rosen, Rob Fusco, Matt Miller and Colin Kercz are pictured.

Most Precious Blood is pictured in London in 2007. Justin Brannan (far right), Rachel Rosen, Rob Fusco, Matt Miller and Colin Kercz are pictured. (unknown/)

In 1999, Brannan, then 20 and a member of the Indecision group, wrote a lengthy letter to the editor of Maximum Rocknroll Magazine, denouncing a reader who had filed a complaint with the media about one of his reporters. using the same insult during Brannan’s interview. .

Brannan, who is white and straight, argued the reader was overreacting because the reporter used the phrase as a “slang term” that did not target or refer to homosexuals.

He then made a distinction between this term and the N word.

“I’m not saying ‘fg’ should be more acceptable or tolerated in everyday conversation than a derogatory insult like ‘n —- r’, but in today’s society, ‘ fg ‘has become less of a disparaging insult to his sexual preference and more of a regular, accepted and tolerated slang word – for better or for worse, ”he wrote. “I haven’t decided that. I’m not making any additions to the English slang dictionary – it’s just a fact.

Justin Brannan, far left, is pictured as a member of Most Precious Blood in 2007.

Justin Brannan, far left, is pictured as a member of Most Precious Blood in 2007.

Justin Brannan, far left, is pictured as a member of Most Precious Blood in 2007. (Photoshot /)

Brannan went on to write that his group was not “anti-gay” and that he did not “suffer from homophobia”. He also said he would have ended the interview if the reporter had said: “‘n —- r’ or some other, in my eyes, a viscously degrading, racist or biased comment.”

But, added Brannan, “No one will turn their heads in the street and look at you in complete disgust if you call someone ‘an fg’ or consider a certain person or situation ‘gay’ – that’s right. accepted. “

Brannan, now 43, put his music career on hold after being elected to the Council in 2017.

New York City Council President Corey Johnson, D-Manhattan (left) dances with other City Council members including Justin Brannan (center) during the annual Brooklyn Gay Pride Parade.

New York City Council President Corey Johnson, D-Manhattan (left) dances with other City Council members including Justin Brannan (center) in the annual Brooklyn Gay Pride Parade.

New York City Council President Corey Johnson, D-Manhattan (left) dances with other City Council members including Justin Brannan (center) during the annual Brooklyn Gay Pride Parade. (Jeff Bachner /)

He is currently waiting for the mail-in ballots to be counted in his run for re-election against Republican challenger Brian Fox, who leads him by less than 300 votes, according to the Council of Elections tally.

If re-elected, Brannan is expected to be one of a handful of council members scrambling to become chairman of the council, one of the most influential positions in city government with considerable power over the city’s legislative agenda. city.

He held a reception at this week’s Somos conference in Puerto Rico – a confab for New York politicians – to garner support for his candidacy to speak.

Allen Roskoff, one of the city’s foremost LGBTQ + advocates and chairman of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, said Brannan’s comments in 2006 and 1999 were “offensive and inappropriate, absolutely.”

“However, that was many years ago, and I know him as an honest and progressive advocate for LGTBQ issues, and I support him,” said Roskoff. “I am not defending this instance of years ago; I’ve been defending who he has been since I’ve known him. It can’t undo the words he used, but he has certainly become a strong ally, a strong friend, and a staunch supporter of the LGBTQ community. He’s a good guy.

New York City Councilor Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn)

New York City Councilor Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn)

New York City Councilor Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn) (Scott Heins /)

The Stonewall Democratic Club of New York, the premier city-wide LGBTQ + rights organization, agreed with Roskoff.

“Throughout his tenure on the Board, Justin has demonstrated that he is a champion of the LGBTQ + community,” said the club, which supported Brannan’s candidacy for re-election, in a statement. “While we condemn his defense of using defamatory language in the strongest terms, we recognize that Justin was 20 at the time of this writing and know that people change with the times. We appreciate that Justin admitted his mistake.

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