Alleged Proud Boys pepper sprayed while trying to attack drag show in California

·3 min read

A group of alleged Proud Boys attempted to interrupt a drag show at a bar in Woodland, California to celebrate the end of Pride month on Thursday night by yelling a range of slurs and threatening the safety of attendees and performers before being pepper sprayed.

As the right wing agitators, clad in glasses and balaclavas, tried to enter the resturaunt, they demanded to know how many children were inside. They were quickly pepper sprayed by someone inside the resturaunt and retreated as police stood idly nearby.

This is not the first time that alleged Proud Boys members have attempted to disrupt LGBT+ oriented events in California in recent weeks. In mid-June, a group of alleged Proud Boys stormed a story time event at a San Lorenzo library. Proud Boys similarly disrupted a drag queen story time event in Nevada earlier this week, while members of fellow neo-fascist group Patriot Front attempted to riot at a Pride month event in Idaho earlier in the month.

The Proud Boys’ increasingly flagrant targeting of LGBT+ events comes at a time when the queer and trans community in particular has been relentlessly attacked by legislators in Republican-controlled states who have pushed through anti-trans pieces of legislation at a record-setting pace so far this year.

In June, the far right’s focus on transgender expression led it to began attacking drag shows. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis publicly weighed ordering investigations of parents who take their children to drag shows — many of which are not in any way explicit — and a Republican lawmaker in Florida introduced a bill to make taking a child to a drag performance a felony.

The anti-transgender moral panic has continued to manifest itself at the national level as well, with lawmakers like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia announcing that she intends to introduce a federal bill making it illegal to take children to drag shows.

The attacks on LGBT+ events have also come as the US Supreme Court rolled back the national right to abortion care and suggested that the decision protecting the right to gay marriage, contraception, and same-sex sex could also be reconsidered in future terms.

In the midst of the menacing national atmosphere, the drag show in Woodland — a city of roughly 60,00 people located northwest of Sacramento — almost didn’t go off at all. The all-ages event was initally cancelled due to security concerns, but turnout was high enough that management decided to let a smaller version of the event go ahead.

That attracted the attention of the alleged area Proud Boys, who stayed in the vicinity of the establishment to continue screaming abuse after being scattered by the pepper spray. The group did eventually depart, and the event went ahead.

“This really was a positive event and everyone was having a great time,” Julie Ramos, one event attendee, told KCRA 3 News. “So I think most people were angry but I would say resilient.”

Woodland Police say that they will launch an investigation into the incident to determine whether it can bring criminal charges. In the meantime, according to KCRA 3, event organisers are planning on holding further events soon.