‘Proud Boys’ storm Drag Queen Story Hour with ‘violent threats’ as children look on in fear
Police investigations are underway after a gang of alleged Proud Boys members stormed a Drag Queen Story Hour at the San Lorenzo Library, California.
Five men hijacked the event, which was aimed primarily at pre-school children, on Saturday (11 June).
After entering the library, the men reportedly began shouting “homophobic and transphobic slurs”, while arguing with parents that event was “sexual”.
Organisers said the men were “yelling, screaming, inciting violent threats, [and] traumatising children and their families.”
Some of the men were wearing black and yellow, the colours commonly worn by members of the vile far-right extremist group, Proud Boys, while one was seen wearing a t-shirt that read: “Kill your local pedophile”.
Police were called to the scene and “de-escalated the situation”, after which the host, drag queen Panda Dulce, continued the event.
Drag Queen Story Hour is an organisation that operates across the US, bringing drag queens to libraries, schools, and bookstores to read stories to children.
It aims to celebrate diversity, “capture the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and give kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models”.
‘Proud Boys’ Drag Queen Story Hour incident being investigated as hate crime
According to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, the men were “incredibly aggressive” with a “threatening violent demeanour”.
Lt. Ray Kelly confirmed that the incident is being investigated as a hate crime, and said the men are also being investigated for the “annoying and harassing of children”.
“ACSO will dedicate all resources to ensure the safety of members of our LGBTQ community. We will make sure any future events at the library are safe against hate speech and threats of violence,” Kelly said.
“As we celebrate Pride Month, we will be swift in our response to any incidents where there are threats to harm members of this community”
Speaking to BuzzFeed News after the horrific incident, Panda Dulce thanked the “amazing” library security guard who led her out of the room when the alleged Proud Boys gang entered.
Former teacher Dulce also said that she has no plans to stop hosting the educational Drag Queen Story Hour events, having been delighting children for five years.
“Story hour is how I continue my youth work,” Dulce said.
“These kids deserve programming and role models that is accurately reflective of our diverse world. Not a regurgitated monolith authored by xenophobes because they’re too cowardly to accept reality.”
The Alameda County Library, which oversees the San Lorenzo branch, said that the library will continue its planned Pride events as normal in a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Libraries are open to all and are places that foster inclusion of all our communities. Attempts to intimidate and silence others are not tolerated in libraries,” said spokesperson Alicia Reyes.
“We are grateful to Panda Dulce for showing bravery and resilience and finishing the story time event.”
Drag Queen Story Hour events have been targeted by anti-LGBTQ+ politicians during Pride Month.
On 6 June, Republican Texas state representative Bryan Slaton announced plans to ban children from attending drag performances, while in Florida, supported by anti-LGBTQ+ governor Ron DeSantis, state representative Anthony Sabatini said he wanted to make it a felony offence and “terminate the parental rights of any adult who brings a child to these perverted sex shows”.
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