On June 30 in Woodland, California, members of the fascist Proud Boys organization attempted to disrupt an all-ages drag show commemorating the end of LGBTQ Pride Month. Videos circulated widely on social media showed the bigots harassing and threatening patrons outside Mojo’s Restaurant and Bar. When the Proud Boys attempted to forcefully enter, they were maced and forced to retreat across the street.
Woodland is a semi-rural city in Northern California, close to University of California, Davis and the city of Sacramento. As soon as the Pride event was advertised around Woodland on June 8, the venue began getting threats online. In response, the venue owner attempted to cancel the show, but community members pushed back and the event went on as planned. Members of the LGBTQ community and allies throughout the region mobilized to attend the show in support and spread the word over social media and through friends and families.
Liberation News spoke with Jennifer, who attended the show with her wife and two other couples. “It was important for me to go. I went to college at Davis in the ’90s and moved back here with my wife. Woodland has been known as a place that is not the most queer-friendly place to grow up or live. But I’ve heard that is changing.”
Jennifer explained that she was there with a lesbian couple from Sacramento who came out to support the event, as well as a straight couple from Berkeley. She described how her friend helped walk older couples to their cars after the event to make sure they were not attacked by bigots.
“When we got to the venue around 6 p.m. it was packed,” Jennifer described. “It was a festive Pride atmosphere, and there were two drag queen performers and a drag king performer. People were lip syncing and having a good time.” At some point the drag king announced that their “groupies” — a joke referring to the Proud Boys — were trying to get in. Patrons then discharged mace near the door of the bar and the bigots were unable to enter.
Recent LGBTQ Pride events across the country have received coordinated threats and attacks from right-wing hate groups. In Idaho, neo-Nazis attempted to target the Coeur d’Alene Pride event using riot gear. Similarly, a group of white supremacists stormed a “Drag Queen Story Hour” event in Castro Valley, California, yelling slurs and threatening children.
Despite the far-right attacks, the June 30 Pride event in Woodland was an important step in building LGBTQ power and solidarity in the community. Keeping the bigots out showed that right-wing hate will not be accepted. Communities will continue to come together in solidarity to fight tooth and nail against anti-LGBTQ bigotry, and even with a few songs.
Featured image: Mojo’s Restaurant and Bar. Credit: DavisWiki