For the second time, this weekend an LGBTQ+ event was targeted by guys tied to a hate group, according to law authorities. The San Lorenzo Library, roughly 25 miles southeast of San Francisco, was disrupted on Saturday afternoon, prompting the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office to start a hate crime investigation.
According to the office, five males identified as members of the Proud Boys disrupted an episode of “Drag Queen Story Hour,” an LGBTQ+ education brand for children and families that began in San Francisco in 2015. The males wore attire and slogans associated with the Proud Boys, a white supremacist group involved in the violent siege at the US Capitol on January 6, according to the office.
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According to a statement from sheriff’s Lt. Ray Kelly, the guys shouted “homophobic and transphobic remarks at the event organizer.” He said, “The individuals were described as quite hostile with a threatening violent demeanor, causing people to fear for their safety.”
According to Kelly, no arrests were made at the scene. The one-hour event was set to begin at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, with Panda Dulce of the Drag Queen Story Hour serving as the event’s host. The library’s promotion stated, “We will hear stories, sing songs, and have fun.”
It stated that the hour would be geared at preschoolers, but those older children would be welcome as well. “DQSH captures the fantasy and play of gender fluidity in children and gives kids attractive, positive, and shamelessly queer role models,” the organizers write on their website.
Drag Queen Story Hour issued a statement condemning what it called “conservative politicians who have created an issue out of the existence of LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly trans persons, in order to foment hatred and encourage murder.”
Drag Queen Story Hour believes the suspected agitators on Saturday were following in the footsteps of these leaders and would-be officeholders, based on the timeline of the statement. The alleged Proud Boys “claims to ‘defend children,” according to organizers, but “loves to disrupt children’s events with homophobic and transphobic remarks.”
The males were “yelling, screaming, making violent threats, traumatizing children and their families,” according to the group. In a statement, the Alameda County Library, of which the San Lorenzo site is a satellite, said the incident would not deter its aim of inclusive education.
It stated that “attempts to intimidate and silence others will not be accepted in libraries.” “Panda Dulce deserves praise for her boldness and perseverance in completing the Storytime event. We’ll keep celebrating Pride Month and providing programming that reflects the different viewpoints and experiences of all of our communities.”
The sheriff’s office’s investigation will also look into the potential “annoying and harassing of youngsters,” according to Kelly. The incident occurred just one day after 31 persons suspected of being members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front were detained near a Pride in the Park event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
The suspects, several of whom were discovered inside a U-Haul moving truck, were arrested on suspicion of plotting a riot, according to police. A man with the same name as Patriot Front’s Texas-based founder, Thomas Ryan Rousseau, was among those imprisoned.
Drag Queen Story Hour targeted by men whom law enforcement describes as linked to a hate group. https://t.co/8RJNxN6gRd
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 13, 2022
Conservative campaign rhetoric and legislation, according to GLAAD, were also to blame for the presence of far-right agitators at the Pride Month celebration in Idaho on Sunday. In a statement, President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis stated, “Anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and the roughly 250 anti-LGBTQ laws introduced this year are accountable for this hazardous climate.”
Ellis sent an email on Sunday in response to the disruption of Drag Queen Story Hour. “It’s disgusting to disrupt a children’s story hour,” she remarked. “This inexcusable and hostile behavior should never be allowed to happen to a kid, family, or anybody. This language and incitement to violence against drag artists, LGBTQ people, and allies can be directly traced to politicians and their facilitators disseminating false information and terrible rhetoric, and it must be stopped immediately.”
When protesters gathered at a Drag Queen Storytime reading at a Chula Vista, Calif., library in 2019, the event made global headlines. “Saturday Night Live” parodied the incident in early 2020, with presenter RuPaul appearing as a host reader at a library in the San Diego region. “Reading is throwing shade – a harsh insult wrapped inside a gorgeous wordplay,” RuPaul stated.
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