Drag Story Hour implementing safety marshal system in response to protests, anti-LGBTQ legislation

Gloria Rodríguez Image
Thursday, June 15, 2023
Drag Story Hour implementing safety marshal system
Drag Story Hour is implementing a new "Shields Up!" safety marshal system to monitor events in response to protests and anti-LGBTQ legislation.

SAN LORENZO, Calif. (KGO) -- This weekend marks a year since protesters believed to be affiliated with the far-right extremist Proud Boys group stormed a Drag Story Hour event at the San Lorenzo Library in Alameda County yelling transphobic and homophobic insults.

This weekend, pictures by ABC7 media partners at The San Francisco Standard show protesters showed up at the library again.

MORE: Proud Boys members under hate crime investigation after disrupting East Bay drag queen story event

Alameda County Sheriff, D.A. to determine if hate crime charges will be filed for Proud Boys who disrupted San Lorenzo library event for kids.

Drag Story Hour Executive Director Jonathan Hamilt said this weekend, it was peaceful compared to last year and there were supporters of the controversial children's storytelling event there, too.

Hamilt, who is based in New York, tells ABC7 he's in San Francisco this month as they're implementing their new "Shields Up!" safety marshal system.

This is in response to last year's protest, the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs last year and recent legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community. The ACLU is tracking nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ bills in the U.S, many targeting drag shows.

"We're implementing volunteer de-escalation marshals to come into our event, so much like the escorts at Planned Parenthood that bring clients to and from the facility," Hamilt said.

"We're going to be taking our performers to and from the places, outside, inside and kind of keeping eyes on our events. We're doing active shooter drill training and de-escalation practices because after Club Q, it's really hard to know what could happen. And we want to really be prepared and knowledgeable in any situation."

MORE: Drag queen speaks out after far-right extremists storm children's event at Bay Area library

A group of men appeared to be members of extremist group Proud Boys disrupted an LGBTQ+ event for children at the San Lorenzo Library, police say.

Hamilt said they will recruit and train what they're calling their Royal Guard or volunteers to provide support and shield at the readings and respond to threats. They're creating a framework for chapters across the country to implement this, starting with the states most impacted by anti-drag violence.

The company LinkTree has launched a virtual tip jar so you can help support Drag Story Hour and other drag performers this Pride month and all year long.

MORE: Young activists lead SF protest against anti-trans laws

Amid Pride Month celebrations, there was action in San Francisco as the next generation leads the way in the fight against anti-trans laws.

It allows you to donate directly through the links many performers and organizations have in their bios on social media.

LinkTree donated $25,000 to Drag Story Hour, which started in San Francisco.

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