A Drag Queen Story Hour event in the East Bay district of San Francisco was disrupted on Saturday afternoon by what authorities say were members of the nationalistic, far-right Proud Boys group.
The event was scheduled for 1.30 p.m at San Lorenzo Library. The event was organized by drag queen Panda Dulce, who said afterward on Instagram a group of Proud Boys “stormed my drag queen story hour at San Lorenzo public library.”
Panda, also known as Kyle Chu, told CBS, “It felt very close to violence.
“It was extremely loud. It was like a cacophony of voices just yelling over one another, taunting me, calling me a groomer, a pedophile, a tranny, and ‘it’. Interrogating the parents, asking, ‘Why are you bringing your kids to this?’ I didn’t feel safe, because one of them was wearing a shirt with an AK-47 on it and it said ‘kill your local pedophile.’”
The men who stormed into “Drag Queen Story Hour” at the San Lorenzo Library were described as members of the Proud Boys Organization. @ACSOSheriffs says an active hate crime investigation is underway.
Im told this video was taken once the situation was “calmer.” pic.twitter.com/5lJYXWZZkS
— Stephanie Magallon (@MagallonNews) June 12, 2022
Panda retreated to a side room in the hope the interruption could be de-escalated. The event was attended by a handful of pre-schoolers and their parents.
“I remember one child looked to their mom and was like ‘What’s going on? Why are they raising their voices? Who are these people?’ And there were these men who are towering over them. It was terrorism,” says Panda.
Panda says objections to drag queen story events are ridiculous, pointing out she was raised primarily by straight people but did not turn out straight.
“There’s no agenda here except for being able to accurately reflect the diversity of our world.
“They want us to disappear. They want us to not exist so they don’t have to confront their own discomfort with the idea that there are people different from them in the world. But guess what? There are people different from you in the world. And we’re going to stay here. And we’re going to continue doing what we’re doing. And we’re going to be visible about it.”
Sheriff’s deputies turned up but no arrests were made. They say the men were likely members of the Proud Boys, and they escorted them out. Charges may still be bought against the men.
After the men were removed, Panda continued her book reading to the children.
On Facebook, the Alameda Sheriff’s Office posted, “A group of 5 men entered the library and disrupted the reading event. The men were described as members of the Proud Boys organization, known to be a right-wing hate group with anti-LGBTQ affiliations.
“The men began to shout homophobic and transphobic slurs at the event organizer. The men were described as extremely aggressive with a threatening violent demeanor causing people to fear for their safety.
“Deputies responded to the scene and were able to de-escalate the situation. An active hate crime investigation is underway as is an investigation into the annoying and harassing of children.”
Rep. Eric Swallwell (D-Dublin), who represents San Lorenzo in Congress, condemned the attack.
“We must reject this hate and extremism whenever it shows itself,” Swallwell said. “There is no place for this hate in the East Bay, and we all need to speak up with one voice in saying so.”
The storming of the Drag Queen story hour event came on the same afternoon that 31 members of a white nationalist militia group, Patriot Front, were arrested for planning to riot at a Pride event in Idaho.
San Francisco Rep. Scott Wiener was among those to condemn both incidents.
Proud Boys stormed Drag Queen Story Hour at San Lorenzo Public Library, wearing AK-47 shirts & calling the drag queen “pedophile” & “it.”
A right-wing militia was arrested for planning to attack Pride in Idaho.
Direct results of political attacks on LGBTQ people.
— Senator Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) June 12, 2022
This Pride Month has seen an escalation of protests against LGBTQ events that welcome children. Last weekend, protestors gathered outside a drag queen brunch event aimed at kids and parents at a bar in Dallas, Texas.
The influential, right-wing @LibsofTikTok Twitter account has been pumping out details of drag queen events aimed at children over the last couple of weeks. It had publicized the San Lorenzo event to its followers in advance of Saturday.
Chaya Raichik of Libs of Tik Tok is going to get somebody killed. pic.twitter.com/3uXiWMFLkP
— Ari Drennen (@AriDrennen) June 12, 2022