Conservatives have made it clear they’re more than happy to demonize LGBTQ+ people—including youth—if it means getting their voter base hyped up to show up to the polls for midterm elections. Whether it’s pushing anti-trans sports bills and bathroom bills, trying to ban gender-affirming health care, or suggesting we ban or even burn books, Republicans are not shy about wanting to isolate and dehumanize queer folks. At this point, it should be no surprise that the far right is willing to terrorize children as part of their agenda, but that doesn’t stop it from being disturbing.
One recent example comes to us out of South Bend, Indiana, where a Rainbow Storytime reading event was infiltrated by far-right Proud Boys members on Monday, June 27, per local outlet WNDU. The seven hate group members made it explicitly clear they wanted to cancel the children’s event because they were convinced the books have pornographic images in them. The half-dozen men caused such a scene the library had to cancel the event and call the police, though no one was arrested in the end.
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“They don’t have the right to plant a seed of doubt about one’s own personal body,” one protester said, per the local outlet. The bigot added that God gives bodies and “you don’ have the right to make them question that body.” This individual went on to describe the books as “smut.”
Mind you, this program does not contain “smut.” Hosted by the St. Joseph County Public Library in partnership between the library and the Tree House Gender Resource center (TREES), the event was meant to host a Rainbow Family Storytime along with arts and crafts for children. It’s about community, solidarity, and inclusive fun.
Just like the other LGBTQ+ story time and book events Daily Kos has covered recently, there was nothing inappropriate here. No one was “grooming” anyone. Nothing about these events is dangerous except for the protesters infiltrating them and terrorizing kids, families, and library workers. It’s evil.
You can watch footage from the invasion (titled the “Michiana Proud Boys Rainbow Crash”) via YouTube below. You’ll notice the “grooming” accusations and “perversion” rhetoric are alive and well with these folks.
Per social media posts, it appears several of the group displayed white supremacist symbols.
Marissa Gebhard serves as the communications manager for the library and gave a statement to a local news station, saying that while the library welcomes everyone, they ultimately “can’t have disruption” and the library abides by a “code of conduct” to keep everyone safe.
“The library is a safe place,” Gebhard continued. “And we want to continue to make it a safe place.” She went on to say the library is looking more deeply into security measures for future events after this occurrence.
The canceled event will be rescheduled for sometime in the next few months.