Police have arrested two Drag Queen Story Hour protesters who were allegedly trespassing inside a councilmember’s apartment building on Monday, according to ABC News. The protesters, Erica Sanchez and Anna Morgan, have been charged with criminal mischief, given a desk appearance ticket, and were released, per a police statement to local outlet W 42st. Councilmember Erik Bottcher has shared videos and photos of anti-queer graffiti outside of both his office and apartment building as well.
This didn’t happen in a bubble. In fact, as Daily Kos has continued to cover, extremists have targeted drag queens across the nation, especially when they’re remotely connected to anything having to do with children or youth. What do I mean by this? In addition to Drag Queen Story Hours—which generally involve drag performers reading to children in a library or classroom—conservatives have become irate over family-friendly and all-ages drag shows and drag shows held in public spaces, like parks.
This sort of harassment shouldn’t be the new normal. But thanks to extremists, it’s starting to feel that way.
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Here’s the graffiti outside of his home, per Bottcher.
For Bottcher in particular, this also wasn’t entirely unexpected, though obviously disturbing and upsetting. Bottcher organized a Drag Queen Story Hour in his Manhattan neighborhood over the weekend, working with the Andrew Heiskell Braille Library (a branch of the New York Public Library). This event brought out protesters who launched conspiracy theories and queerphobic slurs, including accusing people of being pedophiles and tossing out grooming rhetoric
Bottcher, who is openly gay himself, actually shared a video of these protesters on Twitter.
As did reporter Talia Jane.
On Monday afternoon, a group of people allegedly vandalized the walls of the building that houses his office.
That evening, protesters went to his apartment building. Some of those people allegedly made it inside the building lobby. Bottcher was still at an event at the time, so he wasn’t home, but the super of his building reportedly had to call the police.
Bottcher shared a video to Twitter alleging protesters attacked a neighbor of his as well.
In speaking to Gothamist, Bottcher described someone coming to your home as a “feeling of being violated” and noted how “shocking” it is to see bigotry in Chelsea, of all places.
It is shocking. It is disturbing. It is dangerous. And it’s happening across the country. We’ve seen reports of anti-drag protests outside of public libraries, restaurants, and bookstores. Kids in Nebraska missed out on a drag queen story hour event because it was canceled over literal death threats. Extremist threats also resulted in kids missing out in Florida. In Texas, an armed Trump supporter had to be removed after protesting a drag story time at a public library.
There is nothing inherently sexual or “inappropriate” about drag. Not a thing. Sure, some drag shows are for adults. That’s fine! Not every space is appropriate for kids and teenagers. But there is nothing innately sexual or perverse about drag that makes it impossible for it to be part of a child-friendly event, like reading a children’s book in a library, for example.
Conservatives love to paint queer people as especially obscene or pornographic, when in fact we’re just trying to exist. And for folks who are openly queer or openly participating in queer culture, we’re (apparently) easy targets for such hate and disinformation. This connects all too easily with, for example, the proliferation of Don’t Say Gay bills and anti-queer book bans. Conservatives want young people to grow up believing LGBTQ+ people and culture are trying to “groom” them and “turn” them queer so they’re scared enough to stay isolated and in the closet. It’s sick.
You can catch a brief interview clip with Bottcher below as well.