Another Drag Queen Story Hour turns violent as gun-carrying far-right protestors show up
Protesters and counter-protesters gathered outside Old Nick’s Pub in Eugene, Oregon, on Sunday (October 23) where a “Drag Queen Story Hour” event quickly turned hostile.
The family-friendly event had reportedly sparked outrage on right-wing social media, partially due to the inclusion of an 11-year-old performer who goes by the stage name Venellope.
Protesters, some of whom were armed, threw rocks and smoke grenades outside the venue, but the weekend show reportedly went on as planned.
The 11-year-old did not take part but was in the audience of about 50 people as the protests continued outside.
According to local publication The Torch, the anti-LGBTQ protesters included local members of the Proud Boys as well as the Rose City Nationalists, who held signs and shouted slurs like “groomer” and “paedophile”.
Springfield county commissioner David Loveall reportedly also attended the protest with members of the Crossfire Christian Church.
VIDEO: Eugene Antifa and their allies shouted “move back” toward a retreating coalition of right-wingers protesting a drag event today in Eugene, Oregon.
Fighting ensured as the anti-drag protesters fired mace and paintballs toward the crowd.
— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) October 24, 2022
Authorities said people in the crowd briefly “lobbed projectiles” – rocks and some smoke bombs – at each other until they eventually shut down the street.
Some in the crowd had semi-automatic rifles, reports said.
Officials confirmed that no arrests were made, but one person was taken to the hospital by ambulance with an unspecified injury.
While the venue said in a Facebook post on Monday that it expects to now be “a target for violent extremists for a good while” and has spent $2,000 on private security.
The pub’s staff had “an intense weekend filled with racist and homophobic hate mail, physical threats of violence, and repeated attacks by right wing media outlets framing our Drag Queen Storytime as nefarious.”
“We love you all so much, and we will not ever back down to hate,” the pub said in its Facebook post. It added, “Thank you for standing with us against this growing trend of violence against queer youth and LGBTQ venues.”
Drag Queen Story Hour, a national project conceived as a means to educate and entertain children by appealing to their imaginations, has become an increasing target for far-right groups in recent months.
Far-right white supremacist group ‘Proud Boys’ particularly seem to have marked drag artists as their latest primary target, showing up to events across the US to intimidate and cause trouble.
They will often hurl insults like “groomer” and “paedophile”, not only at the drag artists, but anyone in the area who is pro-LGBTQ.
It has been argued that GOP politicians began a hate campaign against drag earlier this year, with many agreeing it to be a diversionary tactic, fuelling a negative conversation about drag culture in order to deflect from calls for gun reform.
Today in Eugene, Oregon: Proud Boys, literal Nazis, & other Far Right thugs tried to menace a Drag Queen Story Hour. They brandished knives, sprayed bear (pepper) spray, & shot paint balls at the counter-protest. They were met by hundreds of people who chased them off and away. https://t.co/OiiQyansLE
— New York City Antifa (@NYCAntifa) October 23, 2022