JACKSON HEIGHTS, Queens (PIX11) — Supporters and protesters of Drag Story Hour at a library faced off from opposite sides of the street in Queens on Thursday.
Protesters carried “leave the kids alone” signs while supporters held up signs that said “drive the homophobia away” and “libraries are for everyone” at the Queens Public Library in Jackson Heights. The supporters outnumbered the protesters at the scene. Police were called to the library for crowd control.
This wasn’t the first time protesters have shown up to Drag Story Hour. Some protesters allegedly previously stormed Councilmember Erik Bottcher’s office; Botcher helped organize Drag Story Hour.
“In recent months, anti-LGBTQIA+ protesters have descended on these family events, attempting to get into our libraries to disrupt them while shouting homophobic and transphobic slurs at performers and attendees,” Bottcher, along with Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Council Members Shekar Krishnan and Crystal Hudson said in a joint statement. “They have also vandalized the homes of three members of this City Council who support Drag Story Hour. It is particularly disturbing that these anti-LGBTQIA+ protesters have focused their harassment in Jackson Heights and Chelsea, two neighborhoods with historical importance as safe communities and centers of organizing for the LGBTQIA+ movement in New York City.”
LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD said there were at least 141 protests or significant threats against drag events nationwide this year.
Police arrested one person on Thursday. The NYPD did not say what the charges were or specify if the individual was a supporter or protester.
As supporters and protesters chanted outside, Drag Story Hour continued inside the library. Mom Susan Kang brought her two sons.
“The messages that were shared there were that people’s identities matter and that we have a community that’s inclusive,” Kang said. “That means our community includes people who may disagree with us.”