Police in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., had to intervene Saturday when violent Proud Boys tried to force themselves into a Drag Queen Story Hour event at a bookstore.
Families with small children had assembled at Loyalty Books in Silver Spring to enjoy a Drag Queen Story Hour event last weekend. Outside, far-right protesters came to demonstrate against it.
One person suffered a facial injury during the standoff between the Proud Boys and LGBTQ+ supporters. Meanwhile, a counterprotest shielding the bookstore’s entrance with colorful umbrellas and pride flags prevented any children from being hurt, and the event inside went on as planned.
Protesters yelled anti-LGBT+ slurs and accused counterprotesters from the Parasol Patrol DMV group, which uses brightly colored umbrellas to shield kids from protesters at LGBTQ+-friendly events, of being “groomers,” Washington, D.C.’s CBS affiliate WUSA reports.
In addition to carrying rainbow umbrellas to obscure the signs to the children at the event, Parasol Patrol members played music and sang songs to drown out protesters’ jeering.
Montgomery County Councilmember Kristin Mink said the situation escalated when Proud Boys kicked, punched, and shoved people. Mink herself was kicked, DCist reports.
As the two groups clashed, at least one person was struck in the face and left with a bloody nose and other minor facial injuries, according to pictures from the incident.
A spokesperson for Montgomery County Police Department said no arrests or injuries were reported, although multiple attendees reported injuries, according to MoCo360, a local news site.
The far-right and some Republican politicians have falsely demonized drag queens, transgender people, and other members of the LGBTQ+ community as “groomers,” implying that they will manipulate children to take advantage of them sexually. Drag Queen Story Hours have become targets of these far-right extremists.
The owners of Loyalty Books remain undeterred by the intimidation attempts and will continue to host drag queens at their location, they wrote on Twitter.
“Yesterday afternoon Loyalty came under attack from hate groups who tried to force their way into our store during a Drag Queen Story Hour with physical violence. Because of [counterprotesters’] efforts the children inside the store got to enjoy doing the Hokey Pokey, hearing beautiful books read aloud basking in the presence of the wonderful @CharChateau. They did not have to hear about bodily mutilation or listen to the slurs and the unhinged, graphic accusations,” the owners wrote.
“We are incredibly grateful to the volunteers and our wonderful Drag Queen for focusing on joy and safety. Loyalty will continue with our Drag Queen Story Hour because A) it is an awesome time for kids (remember the kids? The ones enjoying being read to? This was supposed to be about them!) and B) because there is no hate or violence stronger than the love of our community. We’ll continue to work with our local Parasol Patrol to have safety plans and if you’d like to volunteer please sign up with them! They do incredible work,” the store added.