Children’s store exposes right-wing hate over family-friendly drag event in viral TikToks
A children’s clothing store in Minnesota went viral on TikTok for exposing right-wingers enraged by the store’s kid-friendly drag story time event.
Little Roo’s Children Boutique in Chaska took to the social media platform to highlight their “top favourite haters” amid the bigoted backlash the store received for hosting a family-friendly drag event.
The videos have racked up thousands of likes and comments on TikTok, with one video being viewed more than 11 million times.
In the store’s most-watched clip, a woman whined that she is “looking out for the kids because you aren’t” before threatening to go to the city council. She described herself as a lawyer and said she’d report the store for hosting the drag event because she alleged it was against the city ordinances.
“If you do hold this event here, the police are aware of it,” the woman said in the clip. “I’m a lawyer, and I’m gonna make sure the city council knows and I’m gonna make sure the ordinance is enforced.”
A Little Roo’s employee can be heard off camera politely wishing the woman a nice day when she responds: “You can’t have sexually-based entertainment for kids. Everyone knows that.”
Hosting a drag story time event does not violate any Chaska city ordinances, the Star Tribune reported.
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In another video, Little Roo’s owner Marissa Heid-Nordling explained that a different hater – another woman – entered the store through an employee-only entrance to let the store know she’s “protecting the children” while children are present in the area.
She then proceeded to loudly insist that “this man” (presumably the drag performer at the event) would be “showing his junk to all the children” during the story time.
Some members of the Minnesota Proud Boys – a far-right neo-fascist organisation – showed up to the event, which took place Saturday (8 July), yelling claims that kids were being “sexualised” and “groomed”.
But despite the haters and the far-right group, Heid-Nordling said the store had received “dozens and dozens and dozens more outpouring their love here”.
“It’s wild. It’s phenomenal. It’s definitely not anything that I expected,” Held-Nordling said.
“There has just been a huge, huge outpouring of love and the amount is definitely beyond anything we could’ve estimated.”
One video shows the parking lot outside the store filled with families and supporters of the drag queen story hour, holding up huge Progressive Pride and rainbow flags to block out the haters.
Many said the TikTok videos convinced them to show up and support their local shop amid the hate.
Jen Hennen, who attended the drag story time, said it was “shocking” that the backlash was “happening right in our own backyard, this hatred”, which is why the family decided to come to the event to show their solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.
“We’re trying to raise our son in a positive light and that we know that love conquers hate,” Hennen said. “And so we came here to support the love and the drag show that’s here because that’s all it is, is entertainment and art and love and positivity.”
Over the past year, drag has become the focus of right-wing and conservative ire in the US, with particular outrage directed at story times or events geared towards young people.
More than 161 incidents of anti-LGBTQ+ protests and threats targeting drag events have been recorded since early 2022, according to GLAAD.
In 2023 alone, anti-drag incidents have included members of the Proud Boys violently attacking a Maryland drag event in Febryuary and shouting anti-LGBTQ+ slurs.
A group of white supremacists pounded on windows and threw Nazi salutes while chanting at a New Hampshire drag queen story event in June.
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