A group of men displaying Proud Boy colors stormed a Drag Queen Story Hour at the San Lorenzo Library on Saturday afternoon shouting homophobic and transphobic threats after anti-LGBTQ online activist Chaya Raichik – who runs the anti-LGBTQ LibsofTikTok account – posted information about the event online.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said that police responded to a report of a disturbance at the library at around 1:30 p.m. and discovered five men “described as members of the Proud Boys organization,” “extremely aggressive with a threatening violent demeanor causing people to fear for their safety.”
It is unclear whether the men were members of the national organization or simply representing themselves as such.
UPDATE: @ACSOSheriffs says they're looking into the incident against drag queen Panda Dulce at San Lorenzo Library as a possible hate crime. But they're waiting for a complaint to pursue arrest.
— Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez (@FitzTheReporter) June 12, 2022
The reading was hosted by drag performer Panda Dulce, also known as name is Kyle Chu, a veteran of the program created in San Francisco in 2015.
The events have been frequently targeted for harassment by anti-LGBTQ, far-right extremists, who have attempted to attack the participants and attendees online by sharing their personal information.
Raichik publicized the San Lorenzo Library event on May 30 on Twitter, in a post since deleted. Raichik regularly refers to any interaction between LGBTQ people and children as “grooming” – a set of techniques used by child sex abusers – and has particular disdain for drag queens.
— Eireann Dolan (@EireannDolan) June 12, 2022
Dulce recounted the incident in an Instagram post: “They were wearing AK-47 shirts. They recorded me on their phones, yelled, called me a ‘tr***y,’ 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.”
Dulce was forced to leave the event with a security guard and hide in a back office.
The sheriff’s office said they escorted the men from the premises, but after they were out of the building, Dulce said the group of protestors then proceeded to form a line in an attempt to cut off the exit doors to the library. After the protesters left, Dulce picked up where he left off.
“I returned to storytime and finished the fucking reading.”
“I eventually got out. I’m safe. I’ll be fine,” Dulce wrote. “Drag queen story hours have always seen protestors. And I’ve always received hate mail. But today hit different.”
Today 8-10 Proud Boys stormed a Drag Queen Story Time at the San Lorenzo Public Library in the liberal Bay Area, filming, shouting slurs & terrifying a bunch of children who had come to hear a story. Sheriff’s deputies had to escort them out.
Reporters: please dm me for more info
— Dashka Slater (@DashkaSlater) June 12, 2022
County librarian Cindy Chadwick was in attendance when the group stormed the library, “insulting and otherwise verbally abusing our performer.”
“We had parents and children there who wanted to come to this event and chose to be there. And to have people come in and try to intimidate those folks and us from trying to do a program like this was just beyond the pale for me,” Chadwick said.
The sheriff’s office said an “active hate crime investigation is underway.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), who represents San Lorenzo, called the incident an “abhorrent attack.”
“We must reject this hate and extremism whenever it shows itself,” he said in a statement. “There is no place for this hate in the East Bay and we all need to speak up with one voice saying so.”
In a Twitter post, state Sen. Scott Wiener (D) called the incident the “direct result of political attacks on LGBTQ people.”
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
Subsequently, Weiner’s office received a death threat filled with hate language and sexual obscenities with the subject line, “he will die today.”
“We placed bombs in his office and his house,” the threat said. “You bastards all deserve to die.”