A group of five men police say appeared to be members of right-wing extremist group Proud Boys disrupted a LGBTQ event for children at the San Lorenzo Library on Saturday.
Alameda County Sheriff's Dept. Lt. Ray Kelly said the group entered the library in southwestern Alameda County about 1:30pm during an event called Drag Queen Story Time. Kyle Chu, also known as drag queen Panda Dulce, hosted a story hour meant for preschool-aged children in celebration of Pride Month.
“The men made homophobic and transphobic remarks against a member of the LGTBQ+ community who was hosting the event,’ Kelly wrote in an email. "There was no physical violence. Deputies responded to the disturbance and are conducting follow up to identify the group of men and their affiliation.”
“We will initiate our hate crime protocol and will also address the annoying and harassing of children. More details to follow," Kelly wrote. "The men were reported to be members of the Proud Boys organization."
The sheriff's department Facebook page reported "The men were described as extremely aggressive with a threatening violent demeanor causing people to fear for their safety. Deputies responded to the scene and were able to de-escalate the situation."
The Drag Queen Story Hour website describes the program as “just what it sounds like – drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real.”
Following Saturday's attack U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell condemned the “abhorrent attack” Sunday, saying “there is no place for this hate in the East Bay.”
“Today, while I was on a plane back to Washington, D.C., I learned about an attack in our community by members of the Proud Boys,” Swalwell said.
“We must reject this hate and extremism whenever it shows itself, which is why I will be returning home this Thursday to meet with law enforcement and the community,” Swalwell said.
“We will initiate our hate crime protocol and will also address the annoying and harassing of children. More details to follow,” Kelly said. “The men were reported to be members of the Proud Boys organization.”
Swalwell represents California's 15th congressional district, which includes San Lorenzo.