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Protesters spewed ‘pure hatred’ outside Manhattan library hosting Drag Story Hour

A group of protesters spewed “pure hatred and bigotry” outside a Manhattan library that was hosting a Drag Story Hour event Saturday, but failed to stop the story time for neurodiverse children.

The group was protesting against the event, in which drag performers read books to children, at the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library in Chelsea. Saturday’s story hour was specifically geared to be accessible to children with autism and other disabilities.

The protesters held signs that read “Stop the nonsense. There are only 2 genders,” “Stop grooming kids for sex” and “Let kids be kids” while shouting expletives and giving the middle finger, video posted by Council Member Erik Bottcher shows.

“Today I witnessed pure hatred and bigotry outside Drag Queen Story Hour at a public library in Chelsea,” Bottcher said Saturday. “Inside, I witnessed a loving and peaceful reading of children’s books to kids.”

Opposite the foul-mouthed group, a band of counter-protesters sang “Thank God for the drag queens” and formed a human chain in front of the library’s entrance to block the anti-LGBTQ+ demonstrators from disrupting the event, according to the footage.

“A group of protesters attempted to disrupt a Drag Story Hour for neurodiverse children. The story hour went on as planned, including readings, coloring activities and a ‘dance party’ at the end,” a spokesperson for the New York Public Library said in a statement.

Videos posted to Twitter show people outside the library clashing, with at least one person being shoved to the ground, as cops tried to keep the peace.

Anti-drag story hour protester holds sign reading "Stop the nonsense. There are only 2 genders."
Council Member Erik Bottcher called the protesters the “faces of hatred” in a video he took.
Anti-drag story hour protester holds sign reading "Stop grooming kids for sex"
The anti-drag protestors claimed drag performers are grooming children without any evidence.

Both the NYPD and New York Public Library security were on the scene to manage the conflict. There were no reported injuries or property damage and no arrests.

At least some of the angry protesters appeared to be from the anti-vaccine group Guardians of Divinity, which has held similar anti-drag rallies at libraries hosting Drag Queen Story Hours across the five boroughs.

The group claims drag queens are grooming children — an unsubstantiated accusation Bottcher called “vile and insulting” in an interview with ABC7.

“Here’s an idea: if you don’t like Drag Story Hour, don’t go to it,” he added.

Council Member Erik Bottcher
Bottcher said the story hour was peaceful and loving inside the library.

Anti-drag queen demonstrations have been sweeping the country in recent months as attacks against the LGBTQ+ community rise.

Last month, a gunman killed five people and wounded 17 inside a Colorado LGBTQ+ club in what prosecutors have classified as a hate crime.

The New York Public Library said it would not let hatred deter it from hosting Drag Story Hour and other events.

“Our patrons enjoy Drag Story Hour, and the Library will continue to offer programs that support a diverse array of voices,” the New York Public Library spokesperson said. “This is particularly important at this moment when we are seeing a rise of hate and violence targeting LGBTQ+ communities.”

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