ABBA used to drown out anti-LGBTQ+ ‘bigots’ in ‘Nazi regalia’ protesting drag brunch

Several people gather outside of a drag event in Houston, Texas. One person holds up a white sign reading 'Bigots go home', another sign reads 'Hail Satan', a yellow sign reads 'Pride means fight back' and one more sign reads 'Bash the fash'

Activists blared ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” to drown out a crowd of anti-LGBTQ+ protesters outside a drag show. 

Over 100 people gathered outside of Hamburger Mary’s, an LGBTQ-friendly restaurant in downtown Houston, Texas, to counter a group of demonstrators who targeted a drag brunch on Sunday (10 July), the Houston Chronicle reported.

The “dozen or so” anti-LGBTQ+ protesters were part of Protect Texas Kids, a newly-formed organisation that claims it is “protecting kids from the toxic, indoctrinating agenda of the left”. 

After the group’s demonstration started, a small group of men – some of whom were wearing Nazi regalia – joined the anti-LGBTQ+ protestors, according to the Houston Chronicle. The men reportedly shouted homophobic slurs and Nazi slogans at the counterprotestors. 

But the small group was quickly overpowered as the Screwston Anti-Fascist Committee – which organised the counterprotest – used megaphones, chants and cheerful music to stifle the hate. 

A video, shared to Twitter by reporter Jay R. Jordan, showed crowds lined up outside Hamburger Mary’s while ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” blared on speakers. 

The anthems kept coming, with another video showing the anti-LGBTQ+ protesters being drowned out by Boney M’s “Daddy Cool” as a person shouted over a megaphone: “We can’t hear you.”

Behind them, another counterprotester proudly held up a sign that read “Bigots go home”, while the opposite crowd screamed insults.

Warning – video contains homophobic slurs.

Others in the crowd chanted: “Stop the hate, stop the fear, everyone is welcome here.”

A 30-year-old counterprotester told the Houston Chronicle that the anti-LGBTQ+ crowd needed to be “told that what they have to say is not welcome here”. 

“You don’t get to go around in polite society with these bigoted views, so that’s why we came out to support our community,” he said.

David Gonzales, 55, described the hateful group as “bullies” and said it was “about time” for people to “stand up” to them. Gonzales added that drag performances are “fun and educational” and that no one is forced to attend the events. 

“People and families are just enjoying their brunch with some entertainment. How different is that than, say, dinner theatre?” Gonzales said.

Another attendee told KHOU 11 that the counterprotest was about “freedom of expression, freedom to be who you are” and “freedom to not be intimidated by anybody”. 

A person holds up a white sign reading 'Bigots go home' in black writing. The person is part of a crowd of counter-protestors outside a drag event in Houston, Texas

A crowd of over 100 activists drowned out anti-LGBTQ+ protesters with chants and joyful music outside a drag event in Houston, Texas. (YouTube/KHOU 11)

Kelly Neidert, a right-wing activist and founder of Protect Texas Kids, said her group travelled to protest against the drag event, which she described as “inherently sexual”. 

“I don’t think parents should be allowed to take their kids to these events, and I think that there should be a law banning it from happening,” Neidert said.

She said the group of men wearing Nazi regalia were not affiliated with her group and blamed their participation on the Screwston Anti-Fascist Committee and other counterprotesters. 

Drag events have become the latest target of right-wing ire with hateful mobs protesting outside family-friendly performances and storytime events at libraries across the US.

In June, Texas state representative Bryan Slaton announced that he plans to introduce a bill during next year’s legislative session aimed at “protecting kids from drag shows” and other so-called “inappropriate displays”. 

The Republican added that he also intends to pursue legislation at next session to classify gender-affirming medical care for trans youth as “child abuse”. 

Shortly afterwards, Florida state representative Anthony Sabatini vowed to introduce legislation making it a “felony” for parents to take kids to drag performances. He added the measure would terminate the “parental rights of any adult who brings a child to these perverted sex shows aimed at FL kids”. 

Governor Ron DeSantis has suggested he could order state officials to investigate parents who take their kids to drag performances, and he claimed it was “inappropriate” for minors to be at family-friendly drag shows. 

Drag superstar RuPaul described the wave of hate against the drag community as a “diversion tactic” used by Republicans to “scare people into thinking about something else” and to “take the narrative away” from real issues impacting Americans, like gun control. 

“They have changed the narrative away from the gun debate into this drag queen thing,” RuPaul said. “Y’all want to help your kids? Take away them guns, that will help your kids!”

The Drag Race host continued: “Drag queens ain’t hurt nobody. You’re born naked, and the rest is drag.”