A Group of Proud Boys Allegedly Stormed a Drag Queen Story Hour at a San Francisco–Area Library

Authorities allege that five men — described as members of the right-wing hate group Proud Boys — entered the library and disrupted the reading event

San Lorenzo Public Library
San Lorenzo Public Library. Photo: Google Maps

Police are investigating a potential hate crime after a group of Proud Boys — the far-right, exclusively male group known for instigating violence and espousing misogynistic and racist views — stormed a Drag Queen Story Hour event at a Bay Area library Saturday afternoon.

According to a press release by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to the San Lorenzo Library following a report of a disturbance. When authorities arrived, they learned that a group of five men had disrupted the reading event, which was being attended by "children, parents and other community members."

"A group of 5 men entered the library and disrupted the reading event," the sheriff's office said in the release. "The men were described as members of the Proud Boys organization, known to be a right wing hate group with anti-LGBTQ affiliations."

Once inside the library, 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 de-escalated the situation and now "an active hate crime investigation is underway as is an investigation into the annoying and harassing of children."

Drag Queen Story Hour is an organization with chapters across the U.S., and includes "drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores." According to the organization's website, "DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models."

In a private Instagram post seen by San Francisco's KQED, drag queen Panda Dulce — who was reading at the event — said the men "were wearing AK 47 shirts" and recording on their phones while they "yelled, called me a 'tranny,' a 'pedophile' and an 'it,' and totally freaked out all of the kids."

"They got right in our faces. They jeered. They attempted to escalate to violence," Panda Dulce wrote, according to KQED. "I left the room with the security guard. We hid in the back office while the other librarians called the sheriff. When the sheriff arrived with backup, they escorted the protesters out. The protestors formed a line, tried to block the library exits and waited."

The situation in San Lorenzo — which sits on the outskirts of San Francisco, a city with one of the most prominent LGBTQ communities in the country — came the same weekend that 31 alleged white supremacists in Idaho were arrested for planning to overtake a Pride event.

It also comes as Republicans around the country are vilifying drag shows and introducing bills to ban those that allow audience members of all ages (or punish any parents who bring their children to drag shows).

In Texas, state Rep. Bryan Slaton introduced a bill attempting to ban family-friendly drag shows. And in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis recently said he would consider investigating parents who bring their children to a drag show, after state Rep. Anthony Sabatini proposed a bill that would "terminate the parental rights" of those who bring their children to watch drag.

"We have laws against child endangerment. It used to be kids would be off-limits. Used to be everybody agreed with that. Now it just seems like there's a concerted effort to be exposing kids more and more to things that are not age appropriate," DeSantis said in a press conference last week.

In March, DeSantis signed a bill that bans instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom, saying his decision to do so hinged on parental rights: "Parents' rights have been increasingly under assault around the nation, but in Florida we stand up for the rights of parents and the fundamental role they play in the education of their children."

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