“Drag Story Hour,” which was held by State Attorney General Letitia James on Sunday, drew a huge crowd of about 40 protestors and more than 100 supporters. Cops and even City Council security guards had to come to the loud Manhattan scene to keep the peace.
The event at The Center, an LGBTQA community center on West 13th Street in Greenwich Village, had already been criticized by people who didn’t like how tax dollars were being used to pay for drag performers to read stories to children at different places in New York City.
The Sergeant-at-Arms squad from the City Council was there on Sunday to protect the at least six city lawmakers who came to the event. This added to the cost.
“The council security team goes to all these events where council members go, and there’s a chance someone could get hurt,” Councilman Erik Bottcher (D-Manhattan) told The Post outside Sunday’s story hour.
He said that a council member who paid for one of the events has had unwanted people come to his house and his office has been vandalized, so security is “certainly not taking any chances.”
The events are co-sponsored by the nonprofit Drag Story Hour NYC, which, according to city records, has received more than $200,000 in city contracts since 2018. This has made critics of the kiddie sessions very angry.
Bottcher said that “a couple of dozen kids and their families” were inside on Sunday for the event.
Police said that at least one unruly protester was arrested outside, and a group of NYPD motorcycles was seen taking a person who was thought to be a member of the right-wing Proud Boys to safety during the protest.
Police said that the person who got arrested was a “protester against drag stories who was arrested for attacking a pro-drag agitator.”
The suspect’s name could not be found right away.
Outside the event, protesters from both sides of the debate fought each other.
John McGuigan of New Jersey said, “I don’t like it when kids are shown sexually explicit material or when grown men in dresses twerk in front of them, showing their breasts and behinds and trying to teach them to be transgender.”
McGuigan said that he is gay, but that the gay community doesn’t accept him because he is a conservative.
Behind barricades outside the nearby Kaplan Diamond Building, LGBTQ supporters held up a banner that said “Stop the Hate” and chanted “We are home!”
Michael Henry, 52, of Washington Heights, said, “I’m here to protect our most vulnerable groups, like our trans community and our kids.” “In this world, there are a lot of stupid people.”
Bottcher also said, “A couple of dozen kids were sitting on mats with their families while stories were being read.”
“Wait, what? It was the same as every other storytime. It just happened to be read by a costumed person with a lot of personalities.
“And the idea that this will make kids want to drag queens when they grow up is crazy,” he said.
A spokesperson for the City Council said, “We can’t talk about specific security concerns and decisions, but in the past few months, people who wanted to hurt Drag Story Hour have harassed, broken into, and vandalized the homes of several Council members.”
“The Council’s security rules put the safety of Council members, staff, and members of the public who come to our events first. “Our hard-working and professional sergeants at arms are very important to these efforts,” the spokesperson said in an email Sunday.
In a statement released by the office of the attorney general on Sunday, James said that the whole point of the event was “to condemn hate and fight against widespread misinformation.
James said, “The recent rise in anti-LGBTQ+ protests, rhetoric, and policies has left New Yorkers, including myself, heartbroken and disappointed.” “But I know better than anyone that when New Yorkers have to choose between love and hate, joy and poison, they will always choose love and joy.