On Wednesday, Newsweek reported that just days following the Club Q nightclub mass shooting in Colorado Springs that killed five people and injured 19, the Proud Boys are already making plans to disrupt another drag event.
"The shooting followed a steady stream of far-right protests against LGBTQ events over the past year, coupled with anti-gay and anti-trans rhetoric pushed by prominent right-wing figures," reported Shira Li Bartov. "Days after the Club Q victims are laid to rest, the Proud Boys plan to disrupt a drag storytime event in Columbus, Ohio. The group's local chapter announced its intent on Telegram."
"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," the Telegram post said. "It's gonna be wild!"
The Proud Boys are a self-described "Western Chauvinist" group linked to white supremacists, infamous for their violent street brawls. Several of their leaders participated in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and are on trial for seditious conspiracy.
Prior to this event, the Proud Boys have showed up at other drag celebrations to intimidate LGBTQ supporters, including a brunch in Sanford, North Carolina. Another armed man wearing a Proud Boys shirt showed up at a drag storytime event in Sparks, Nevada in June, forcing children to flee.
"Extremism experts say that these protests, which sometimes turn violent, have directly led to horrific events like the shooting at Club Q," said the report. "'If you look at the history of the way in which organized violence works, it can often start with protests, can often start with fights or fistfights, but very quickly then can become armed events,' Imara Jones, CEO of TransLash Media, told Newsweek. 'What we are seeing overall right now is the transition and the legitimization of increasing violence and targeting of trans people by these groups."