Friday, January 27

LGBTQ+ organizations ask community *not* to counter-protest Proud Boys

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(This piece was updated on December 1st to provide more specifics on the composition of the Columbus & Central Ohio LGBTQ+ Leadership Roundtable.)

A coalition of LGBTQ+ organizations from across central Ohio have issued a statement asking the community to not counter-protest an upcoming Proud Boys gathering outside a drag queen storytime.

The Proud Boys, a far right extremist group, had announced that they will be gathering at the Holi-drag Storytime event in Columbus on December 3rd.

The event is billed as “a new family-friendly, LGBTQ+ holiday tradition in Central Ohio.” and is being hosted by the Red Oak Community School.

The November 15 Proud Boys post read:

The Columbus Proud Boys would like to announce that we will be attending the Holi-drag Storytime being held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus on December 3rd! We look forward to meeting all of the attendees and welcome Americans from all over to join us. It’s gonna be wild! Stand by for details…

The news quickly went viral and attracted nationwide press coverage, particularly given the Proud Boys association with violence and in the wake of the mass shooting at an LGBTQ+ night club in Colorado Springs.

Today, the Columbus & Central Ohio LGBTQ+ Leadership Roundtable has asked that the community not show up due to safety concerns. The Leadership Roundtable consists of representatives from multiple organizations including Stonewall Columbus, Kaleidoscope Youth Center, HRC Columbus, Equitas Health, and LoveBoldly.

Editor’s Note: The Buckeye Flame participates in the Leadership Roundtable monthly calls.

Their statement in full:

The Columbus & Central Ohio LGBTQ+ Leadership Roundtable is aware of the planned protest of the Holi-Drag Story Hour at Red Oak Community School this weekend. We strongly urge all LGBTQ+ community members and allies to NOT show up in counter-protest. This situation is potentially volatile and dangerous and, the safety of the children, families, performers and our community, are of paramount importance and our actions must be in service to their protection.

LGBTQ+ community leaders have been in conversation with Red Oak, local security professionals, local law enforcement, and Mayor Ginther and have confidence that they are taking this threat very seriously.  They have a strong commitment to the children’s and our community’s safety and we have confidence in their ability to address this situation.

If you wish to support Red Oak or the performers, please consider livestreaming the event (https://secure.givelively.org/event/red-oak-community-school/2022-holi-drag-storytime) or contributing to Red Oak’s ‘Feel-the-LOVE’ fundraiser. 100% of proceeds will go to a local LGBTQ+ charity.  https://app.99pledges.com/fund/feelthelove

In solidarity,
The Columbus & Central Ohio LGBTQ+ Leadership Roundtable

The Columbus City Council issued a statement this week condemning the Proud Boys’ intent to “intimidate families” at a holiday event for children.

“All families deserve to be safe, and anti-LGBTQ behavior is not welcome in the City of Columbus,” the statement read. 🔥

Ignite Action:

  • Be safe. First and foremost, always err on the side of safety. 
  • Check out the event organizer’s fundraiser.

About Author

Ken Schneck is the Editor of The Buckeye Flame. He received the 2021 Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for the LGBTQ Journalist of the Year from the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists. He is the author of "Seriously, What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew" (2017), "LGBTQ Cleveland" (2018), "LGBTQ Columbus" (2019), and "LGBTQ Cincinnati" (2020). In his spare time, he is a professor of education at Baldwin Wallace University.

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  41. LGBT antifascist on

    What an incredibly stupid decision. Ceding ground to fascists just gives them more of a platform. And working with the cops?! Absolute madness.

    Shame on them.

    • For context: They are a coalition of representatives of organizations including Stonewall Columbus, Kaleidoscope Youth Center, Equality Ohio, Human Rights Campaign and tons more. These are the folks on the ground doing LGBTQ+ work in Central Ohio.

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