Men claiming to be linked with the Proud Boys militia invaded a drag queen story time at a San Francisco library.
Over the weekend, SFGate reported that as LGBTQ+ pride activities took place around the country, one of them devolved into a homophobic and transphobic attack.
Panda Dulce, a local drag artist, was reading at the San Lorenzo Library when “a gang of 8-10 Proud Boys” stormed in, yelling and threatening others there, according to police. They claimed that the group was forced to depart and that Panda Dulce was forced to hide with a security guard in a back office.
According to the group’s website, drag queen story hour is an event in which performers dress up in full regalia and read children’s books to youngsters. The stories usually revolve around being different and being accepted. The idea is to teach youngsters that they can dress and act however they want while still being loved and accepted by their peers. Children are encouraged to think beyond gender preconceptions such as women wearing dresses and men wearing slacks.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office verified the attack, claiming that five males “identified as members of the Proud Boys organization” were found at the library around 1:30 p.m. The individuals were “reported as extremely hostile with a threatening violent demeanor, causing many to fear for their safety,” according to the report. Police aren’t sure if the individuals were members of the national Proud Boys organization or if they just pretended to be.
They did state that there is an “active hate crime investigation is underway, as is an investigation into the annoying and harassing of children.”
“They got right in our faces. They jeered. They attempted to escalate to violence,” Dulce wrote on social media. They said that the men “totally freaked out all of the kids.”
They began hurling homophobic and transphobic comments toward Dulce while making white power hand motions.
“They said who brought the tranny. It’s a groomer. It’s a pedophile. Why do you bring your kids to this event,” Dulce said.
Dulce was then removed away from the males by security, and police enforcement was summoned.
Dulce is now concerned that similar incidents are becoming more structured and common.
She’s urging everyone who disagrees with her to fight radicalism.
“I think now is the time to unite and to come together as a united front,” Dulce said.
Not only for herself but also for the kids.
Drag queens reading stories to kids at the library should not be under attack by right wing lunatics. I want to hug Panda Dulce and all those now-traumatized kids. https://t.co/JnTuOW2nQm
— Clair (@clair_415) June 12, 2022
Many of them were afraid, according to Dulce, an Ivy League graduate with almost a decade of experience in social work.
“I don’t want to hurt you. I just want to tell you a story. That’s it. I just want to tell you a story,” said Dulce.
Both local politicians and the San Lorenzo library have expressed their displeasure with the incident.
Panda Dulce’s words give me hope, strength and resolve in the face of ignorance & hate. Support Drag Queen Story Hour. Support your local library. https://t.co/fQE6HqAUOO pic.twitter.com/HohytWm4xE
— FOBoard_Game = 😷 (@FOBoard_Game) June 13, 2022
“I really believe that libraries are places where everyone is welcome. We are open to every member of our community, and we can’t be bowed or intimidated by these kinds of threats. This is not what we’re going to stand for,” said Alameda County Librarian, Cindy Chadwick.
Dulce says the incident has left a deep mark on her, “A lot of people are asking me like, do you feel safe? Are you okay? And the answer is no, I don’t. I don’t feel safe in my own home,” she said.
The host of the story program, Bay Area drag queen Panda Dulce, said on Instagram that the group “attempted to escalate to violence.» https://t.co/VFYdcU9Mng
— kcranews (@kcranews) June 12, 2022
However, she is determined not to be a victim.
Dulce says she’s not going anywhere and vows to never let fear or intimidation keep her from doing what she enjoys.
“They were successful in scaring us, but they weren’t successful in their ultimate goal which is to make us go away because of their own discomfort with the diversity of our world. They failed in that,” Dulce said.