Drag Queen ‘Panda Dulce’ Harassed by Proud Boys at Bay Area Children’s Library Event
A drag queen named Panda Dulce was targeted by the Proud Boys during an event for children at the San Lorenzo Library in San Lorenzo, a suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Authorities are currently investigating it as a possible hate crime and as harassment of children, reports ABC7.
The event started off like any of the many Drag Queen Story Hours — an event created in 2015 — that Dulce has hosted in the past.
Suddenly, a group of right-wing extremists stormed the building and began making a scene with threatening and offensive remarks. “You’re not safe here,” one of the men said to Dulce, who eventually left the event after hiding in a back room for over 30 minutes.
“Eight to 10 Proud Boys marched in with their cameras blazing, point at me, jeering from the back,” Dulce recalled.
Dulce says the men, some of whom were sporting the black and yellow Proud Boy colors, threw up their white power hand gestures and began hurling insults at her and the parents of the children in attendance.
“They said, ‘Who brought the tr—-? It’s a groomer. It’s a pedophile. Why do you bring your kids to this event?'” Dulce continued.
Dulce did not want to leave the event, but ultimately decided it was the best option for herself and the children in attendance, especially in the wake of a recent rise in hate crimes and mass shootings. “We were utterly defenseless, and they could have been armed,” she said to The Los Angeles Times. “Even though clearly this was just a textbook intimidation tactic, and they just wanted to make their presence known and scare us, make us shrink back into obscurity, I felt in real danger.”
Dulce returned, however, to finish the story hour as Proud Boys waited outside, barricading the exits, according to SF Gate. Despite being shaken up by the incident, Dulce powered through because, in her words, events like the Drag Queen Story Hour have been receiving threats and hate mail since the very beginning.
“The entire time I was looking over my shoulder because [an] older couple was still pointing cameras at me and I was shaking,” she said. “It’s ironic because everyone’s saying, ‘You’re so brave,’ but I felt so terrified. It’s hard for those words to land.”
After Dulce wrapped up the event, she called her partner to bring her a change of clothes and makeup removal wipes. She then left the event accompanied by security, disguised as a cis man, and the authorities were called.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office initiated what they call their “hate crime protocol.” California Rep. Eric Swalwell also weighed in, saying, “We must reject this hate and extremism wherever it shows itself. There is no place for this hate in the East Bay, and we all need to speak up in one voice in saying so.” Swalwell plans to visit the district this week to further discuss the incident with members of the community as well as local law enforcement.
This has been an especially difficult Pride Month for many people, as groups like the Proud Boys are ramping up their attacks and harassment against the LGBTQ+ community. Just this week, 31 members of the Patriot Front group were arrested after planning to riot at a Pride Month event in Idaho. Dulce, who says the incident has traumatized her, still has faith in the queer community’s ability to overcome the hate they’re facing.
“I feel like there are going to be Proud Boys who are watching this coverage and gloating,” she said. “They think they’re successful in victimizing us. But the queer community, we’re not victims. We are heroes. They haven’t met drag queens before because drag queens don’t do obscurity and queers don’t do quiet. We know silence equals death.”