A group of so-called Proud Boys has managed to disrupt another Pride Month library event for kids.
This time it took place on Monday in South Bend, Indiana. A group calling itself the Michiana Proud Boys, a local branch of the white nationalist hate group, filmed themselves entering the Tutt branch of the St Joseph County Public Library
They entered a side room to the main library space and started to ask librarians what “gives you the right” to talk about sexuality to kids. The small number of kids in the room are seen leaving, while the far-right protestors continue to try to engage with the librarians.
“What gives you the right to give them questions of sexuality at such a young age?” asks the man who appears to be the group’s ringleader.
“This is perversion and it can’t be taught to children.”
One of the librarians points out the children were present with the permission of their parents, but this doesn’t wash with the men, who claim they still have “no right … what you want to do in your own home is up to you, but you can’t force this on children … sexuality is not a place for the library.”
Someone, possibly the man filming the encounter, can be heard saying, “You’re grooming these children’s minds.”
The librarians remain remarkably calm as they ask the men to leave. The men refuse and eventually the police arrive and the Proud Boys are persuaded to leave. The filmed stand-off lasts for about 45 minutes.
The reading event was postponed as most of the kids present had left by this point.
Marissa Gebhard, communications manager for the library system, told the South Bend Tribune, “It is a shock and we are very disappointed an event celebrating LGBTQ+ communities was disrupted. Our staff are very affected by it.”
The library later issued a statement saying, “On Monday, June 27 at 5 p.m. the Tutt Branch had planned to offer a Rainbow Storytime program followed by bubble wrap rainbow painting. This program was presented in partnership with The Tree House Gender Resource Center. Prior to the start of the storytime, a group from the Michiana Proud Boys entered the room and disrupted the program with the intent of canceling it. The Branch Manager intervened and the Library’s Public Safety Manager and the South Bend Police Department arrived on site and dealt with the situation.
“A public library is a place of belonging. It is a place for everyone. The Library treats all community members, staff, and partners with dignity and respect. Everyone is welcome at all St. Joe County Public Library facilities.
“The Library is a safe place for everyone, and we will continue to work to make sure that everyone is and feels safe and welcome.”
It says it will reschedule the event.
A couple of weeks ago, Proud Boys attempted to disrupt a similar event taking place at a library in San Francisco.
On Sunday, Proud Boys attempted to disrupt a Pride Month event at a library in McKinney, Texas. However, when they turned up, they were met by several pro-LGBTQ activists and allies holding up rainbow flags and signs advocating for equality. They successfully managed to block the Proud Boys from entering the building.