Allies with rainbow umbrellas stop haters from ruining kids’ drag queen library event

A protestor blocked by rainbow umbrellas Photo: NewsShare screenshot

LGBTQ+ people and allies at a Maryland library used rainbow-colored umbrellas to prevent anti-queer protestors from invading a drag queen children’s event. Chaya Raichik, who goes by LibsofTikTok on social media, tried to anger bigots into disrupting the event.

Anti-LGBTQ+ protestors found themselves outnumbered when they arrived at a Sunday-morning Drag Queen Story Hour event at the Olney Library in Maryland, 20 miles north of the nation’s capital. The LGBTQ+ allies used rainbow umbrellas to block the entrance, a tactic increasingly used and adopted by the pro-LGBTQ Parasol Patrol, a group that protects drag events from far-right disruptors.

The umbrella-holders blocked one man, in particular, who held a sign which read, “This is not amusing children, it’s ABUSING children!” Video of the protest showed the older man, wearing a sweatshirt with the U.S. flag on its back, trying to push past the umbrellas but being shoved away. In the background, someone repeatedly sang, “Nazis go home.”

The older man asserted that it was his “First Amendment right” to protest inside the library. However, the Constitution’s First Amendment only prevents the government from restricting a person’s free speech — citizens can try and silence others’ speech if they wish.

The man complained to officers from the Montgomery County Police Department, but he said that he didn’t wish to press charges for being pushed back.

“I just want people to hear the right thing as far as I’m concerned,” he told an officer, shaking his sign for emphasis. “This is child abuse. These people are not normal, as far as I’m concerned.”

“I’m just getting tired of being pushed around by a bunch of people who think they can block what I do, and more or less taking away my First Amendment rights,” the man told one officer. “I’m not pushing them around… Everywhere I go, they’re just trying to get me away from here.”

When the man asked the officer to watch him get pushed back while trying to enter the library again, the officer said, “We don’t want adversarial contact. We don’t want to push through people.”

The man replied, “Well, they already started that.”

Chaya Raichik, who goes by LibsofTikTok on social media, posted a tweet that sought to generate outrage about the event. Her February 2 tweet noted that the library was holding the event in celebration of a local staging of Kinky Boots, a musical about a drag queen who helps a boot factory stay in business by producing flashy footwear.

Raichik’s tweet cited the library’s drag story hour description, which called the event an occasion for “all ages, especially toddlers, preschoolers.”

“This library receives millions in funding,” Raichick wrote. “Our tax dollars are funding drag events & sexual themed plays for kids.”

Kinky Boots is not a “sexual themed play.” While the play features drag performers, no sex occurs. Distortions like this are a regular part of Raichik’s schtick. Raichik’s posts, which regularly accuse LGBTQ+ people of “grooming” children for sexual abuse, have inspired death threats against drag performers, educators, and healthcare providers. Late last year, a post of hers compelled bigots to send death threats to a dog shelter that had a drag queen read books to dogs.

In 2022 alone, far-right groups targeted at least 124 drag shows for protests and harassment.

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