A “drag queen story hour” in southern California was ground to a halt after protesters blocked the entrance to the public library that hosted the event.
On Wednesday, protesters blocked the entrance of the San Fernando Library and repeatedly hollered “Leave our kids alone!”
The protesters prevented the wig-wearing drag performer “Pickle” from entering the building.
“Pickle stood on the sidewalk seemingly dumbfounded by the pushback.
The San Fernando Sun reported that “50 right-wing demonstrators … illegally blockaded the entrances to the library.”
County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath’s office organized the drag queen story hour to help celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, the Sun reported.
The outlet adds that Horvath was at the library and saw the protest in person.
Horvath was outraged over the pushback and fired off a rant on social media following the event’s cancellation.
“Protestors claimed they want to keep children safe while they pounded on doors, shouted obscenities & slurs toward my staff and library staff, and used strollers to blockade moving vehicles,” she posted on Twitter/X.
“The hypocrisy is astounding.”
“These disgusting tactics and efforts to incite violence prevented Pickle and Library patrons from even entering the building,” Horvath added.
“I hope no one does to their families what they did to their neighbors today.”
“Libraries will not be breeding grounds for indoctrination of hate and contempt toward our fellow neighbor,” she concluded.
“I apologize to the families who were excited but could not get in; to Pickle, a respected drag artist and West Hollywood’s Drag Laureate, who was determined that the program be held; and to the dedicated Library staff who have to show bravery by just showing up to work.
“The protestors’ message and actions today will not win in our continued fight for LGBTQ+ rights and equality.
“We will continue to build communities where every person is treated with dignity and respect – and diversity is celebrated, not attacked or shamed.”
The protestors’ message and actions today will not win in our continued fight for LGBTQ+ rights and equality.
We will continue to build communities where every person is treated with dignity and respect – and diversity is celebrated, not attacked or shamed.
— Lindsey P. Horvath (@LindseyPHorvath) October 26, 2023
Pickle also told the Sun he was disappointed that he didn’t get to perform for children.
“It is a person’s right to protest and demonstrate,” he said.
“It is not a person’s right to prevent public programming from occurring.
“It is not a person’s right to physically prevent a protected class of citizens from entering a public library.
“And it is the responsibility of the county, it is the responsibility of the Sheriff’s Department, to ensure that those freedoms are protected.
“That did not happen today.”
San Fernando Police Lieutenant Pete Aguirre told the paper that the department was “advised of the protest with sufficient time to bring in resources.”
Roughly 10 officers were present in preparation for the demonstration, along with a few county sheriff’s deputies.
Aguirre added to the Sun that the “primary objective” of law enforcement was “to ensure no one got assaulted, no one got injured.
“And in that end, we were successful.
“Secondary to that was opening the thruway to ensure people could get in and out.”
The paper said that “despite an illegal blockade of public space, no violence ensued, and no arrests were made.”
Alyssa Sonora, an organizer of the protest and cofounder of the San Fernando Valley Alliance community action group, told the Sun that drag queens are trying to strip parents of decision-making about their own children’s upbringing.
“We have to have these conversations with our kids at such a young age” because of drag queen story hours, Sonora said.
“We weren’t ready to have these conversations with them.”