All-ages drag brunch defended from far-right, anti-LGBTQ+ thugs by armed counter-protesters

A group of armed counter-protestors stand around the Anderson Distillery and Grill.

A Texas drag brunch became the sight of a tense standoff between anti-LGBTQ+ protestors and armed counter-protesters.

A Sunday (28 August) video from the all-ages drag brunch at the Anderson Distillery and Grill in Roanoke, Texas, featured several protestors attempting to disrupt the proceedings with typical anti-LGBTQ+ signs calling participants “groomers” and “paedophiles”.

But their attempts were disrupted by a group of armed counter-protestors wearing all black and wielding firearms, circling the entrance in an attempt to stop marching groups from entering the building.

“Anti-trans activists are protesting a drag brunch in Roanoke, Texas, but are outnumbered by supporters of the event,” journalist Steven Monacelli said in a Twitter thread. “I’ve only been here for about five minutes and I’ve already seen quite a few heated exchanges.”

Despite the usual excuse of “protecting children” being used by much of the group, Monacelli was surprised by several of the “quite clear” signs in direct opposition to the existence of drag queens”.

Eventually, a self-proclaimed anti-fascist group surrounded the entrance to the building, all of which seemingly held rifles of some kind. Monacelli also noted the patches on the gear of the counter-protestors, with many displaying their pronouns and one reading “I bite fascists”.

Anti-LGBTQ+ protestors responded by calling the guards “a bunch of f**king p****es”.

Monacelli also noted that some individuals in the crowd appeared to be part of the right-wing group Proud Boys, one of which was reportedly seen at multiple events organised by anti-trans activist Kelly Neidert. Some brought weaponry, including a baseball bat wrapped in a razor wire.

“Some may say that it’s hypocritical to note the armed counter-protesters at the drag brunch when there are armed anti-fascists,” Monacelli said. “But one group is here with weapons because they are seeking to defend a group that feels threatened, while the other group is here for different reasons.”

Drag events have come under increased scrutiny over the last few months by anti-LGBTQ+ protestors who believe gatherings such as drag queen story times with youths are a form of “indoctrination”.

One of the most vocal anti-drag pundits has been Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who has attempted to ban youth drag shows and made several anti-LGBTQ+ speeches about drag.

Despite this, Monacelli noted that “people at the drag brunch in Roanoke, Texas seem to genuinely be enjoying their Sunday afternoon”.