In Katy, Texas this weekend, a fascist protest against a drag queen bingo fundraiser at a church brought out counter-protesters in a show of force condemning the gathering of hate groups. Protesters on both sides of the demonstration, which lasted for hours into the early evening, carried guns.
Over a hundred people lined opposites sides of a highway across from First Christian Church Katy (Disciples of Christ) with competing PA systems, counter-protesters outnumbering the fascist-affiliated groups. Shouts of Christian condemnation competed with chants of support for the church and the bingo event’s attendees.
Authorities from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Harris County Sheriff’s Department responded.
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Proud Boys “and Houston antifascists just clashed,” Axios reports from the scene. “Heavy police presence dividing the two groups now.” No injuries were reported.
Proud Boys and Kelly Neidert’s Protect Texas Kids are in Katy, Texas, protesting a drag bingo fundraiser at First Christian Church. PB and Houston antifascists just clashed. Heavy police presence dividing the two groups now pic.twitter.com/5p4EgD88mT
— Jay R. Jordan (@jayrjordan) September 24, 2022
Last week, the call went out on social media from well-known fascist group Protect Texas Kids, led by self-described “Christian fascist” Kelly Neidert, to show up at the First Christian Church Katy to protest the fundraiser benefiting the ministry’s Transparent Closet, a free boutique for LGBTQ young people in the conservative west Houston suburb.
A Facebook post from Neidert read: “This ‘church’ will be hosting a disturbing kid-friendly drag bingo show, complete with alcoholic drinks and special 18+ ticket options. Our Houston friends are organizing a protest, and we will be joining them. These sexually explicit shows must stop happening in front of children.”
Neidert, based in north Texas, has led several protests there and another in Houston in July at the Hamburger Mary’s downtown, which drew Proud Boys and protesters wearing Nazi regalia. That protest was drowned out by counter-protesters and staff singing ABBA songs.
News of the planned demonstration reached the Houston-based Screwston Anti-Fascist Committee, who organized the counterprotest.
“**ALERTA** – Saturday, Sep 24th, Fascists intend to disrupt a Drag Bingo event at a Church in Katy. Nazi groups such as the Aryan Freedom Network plan to attend. They think they’re safe in Katy, come out with us and show them their attacks won’t be tolerated by our communities!”
**ALERTA** – Saturday, Sep 24th, Fascists intend to disrupt a Drag Bingo event at a Church in Katy. Nazi groups such as the Aryan Freedom Network plan to attend. They think they're safe in Katy, come out with us and show them their attacks won't be tolerated by our communities! pic.twitter.com/wICPYj29BI
— Screwston Anti-Fascist Committee (@screwstonafc) September 17, 2022
Anti-LGBTQ signage read: “LGBT is Talmud Jew Satanic shit, 6 genders LOL,” “Homosexuality is an abomination to mankind,” and “God hates groomers.” Some raised their hands in the Nazi salute.
The church’s pastor, Rev. Heather Tolleson, told the Houston Chronicle she was looking on the bright side: the protests brought more visibility to the Church’s message of acceptance.
“We have experienced a lot of love,” she said.
First Christian Church Katy was founded in 1979. In 2006, the congregation voted to become “open and affirming congregation” that is “expressly open to and affirming to the LGBTQ+ community.”
“This congregation has always been a place where what they value most about the teachings of Christianity is an openness and willingness for all people and the idea that Jesus came to love all,” she explained. “We’re a representation of that love.”