NJ drag queen event is latest to be targeted by right-wing influencer
A New Jersey bakery’s pride event featuring drag queens was recently highlighted by an influential social media account that has targeted the LGBT community.
The account “Libs of TikTok” has ballooned to fame by sharing content — frequently involving drag queens — that it claims shows harm to children.
On Tuesday morning, it shared a video clip from a recent Doughnuts and Drag Queens event in Montclair.
The account captioned it" “A bakery in NJ hosted a “family-friendly” drag show for all ages. Children hand money to the drag queen who also gets cash stuffed into his bra including from someone who appears to be a minor.”
Rabble Rise, formerly Montclair Bread Co., and the LGBTQ nonprofit Out Montclair presented the sold-out event — which bakery owner, Rachel Wyman, said was a big hit in spite of any “haters.”
“Wow! How did I make it 10 years in the bakery business without hosting a drag show??? Our SOLD OUT Doughnuts & Drag Queens event was a huge success- complete with all the haters coming out of the woodwork telling me they’re never supporting my business again because I’m corrupting children,” Wyman said on Instagram.
"Well - my child said it was the best night of her life and the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”
Drag queens are performers, most often men, who usually portray outlandish or exaggerated female characters. A staple of gay bars, drag queens have in recent years enjoyed mainstream recognition with shows like "RuPaul's Drag Race" on VH1.
The “Libs of TikTok” Twitter account posts its location as “the depths of hell” and has shared drag queen events from around the country, vilifying them as inappropriate for families.
“The men were described as extremely aggressive with a threatening violent demeanor causing people to fear for their safety,” according to the Facebook page of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Some LGBTQ advocates have said the “Libs of TikTok” accounts, recently confirmed as created by Chaya Raichik, may ultimately incite deadly violence with such inflammatory posts.
Raichik, still largely anonymous online, said she in turn has received multiple death threats.
By Tuesday afternoon, accounts that sent the alleged threats were suspended.
The Libs of TikTok account expanded on its stance against drag queens with a lengthy blog post on June 9, in which it said such events were "grooming," "targeting children" and "sick."
Drag queen story hours have already been embraced by fans and derided by critics for the past several years in New Jersey — including events at libraries in Bloomfield, Newark, Jersey City, Maplewood, Princeton and Fanwood.
Other such story hours have been scheduled, but then canceled amid public backlash, even before the rise of “Libs of TikTok” as an extreme conservative influencer, with more than a million followers on Twitter, alone.
According to the Drag Queen Story Hour website, the concept began as drag queens reading to children in libraries in San Francisco.
The organization's mission is to capture "the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models."