Hate mail sent to gay Council members 1

Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer, seen at right in the left inset with his husband, Dan Hendrick, and Danny Dromm received an anti-gay letter in the mail recently. Van Bramer said he shared the note on Twitter to “confront the coward who did it.”

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) has received numerous homophobic messages during his time in office and, for the most part, not publicized them.

But when his office manager recently opened a “vicious” letter, he felt compelled to share the missive for two reasons.

“I wanted people to see what I confront, still to this day,” he told the Queens Chronicle last Thursday. “I also wanted to challenge the coward who did it. If they felt so strongly in their hatred of gay people, and felt so strongly that you typed that hatred up, sign your name to it.”

The openly gay councilman shared the letter on Twitter Feb. 13. The note was also sent to Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), who is also gay.

“Sometimes when you do a public action, like when I protested the Chick-fil-A in Elmhurst, you expect some pushback from anti-LGBT people but this was unexpected,” Dromm said in an interview last Thursday.

The envelope did not have a return address and was postmarked “New York, NY.” Both lawmakers said it has been forwarded to Council security personnel.

The vulgar missive states, “The opening of the 2018 Council year was absolutely disgusting” and criticizes “the fuss and importance made over Corey’s ‘Gayness’ instead of good leadership abilities,” referring to Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan), who was elected the first gay leader of the legislative body. The writer states, “Whether you know it or not the majority of the people actually find your way of life, Repulsive [sic].”

The writer also refers to affection between gay men in a negative way and uses profanity throughout the letter.

Van Bramer said he shared the note with Johnson, who was stunned but had not received any such mailing. Van Bramer, whose husband is former Chronicle editor-in-chief Dan Hendrick, said he felt like “the target.”

“Clearly, this person hates all gay people and all gay elected officials,” he said. “But this one is personal ... The person seems to know who I am and seems to follow me.”

The note mailed to Dromm was identical to the one mailed to Van Bramer’s office, with the exception of the Sunnyside councilman’s name being crossed out and the Jackson Heights lawmaker’s being written out above it.

Dromm said he was most struck by how the writer said people made a big deal of “What great mothers we had as we came out (What? no fathers?”

“That hit me hard because my mother just died,” he said. “That was very hard to take. My mother loved me and was a big, strong supporter of the LGBT community.”

Responding to the writer’s claim that the “majority” of people disagree with his lifestyle, Dromm said, “It’s a combination of ignorance and denial.”

Van Bramer said, “We will probably never identify this person.”

But he hopes the writer has seen the words of encouragement shared by people after Van Bramer posted the note on Twitter.

“If the person who sent that letter follows me, they hopefully are seeing those messages,” Van Bramer said. “I know that the vast majority of people in Queens love gay people, respect their LGBT neighbors and family members that they share their lives with.”