Metro Vancouver Pride Week event disrupted by anti-LGBTQ2S+ protesters

An event to kick off Pride Week on Monday was cut short after a pair of men with anti-LGBTQ2S+ signs showed up and disrupted a Drag Queen Story Time reading in Richmond, B.C.

Bryan Bone was in drag as character Miss Gina Tonic reading to about 30 children and their parents when the men showed up with signs that said ‘Fascism comes in all genders and colours.’ and ‘Why do LGBTQ organizations hate the innocence of children?’

One of the signs also included a Nazi swastika in the colours of the rainbow pride flag.

Bone, who teaches high school art in the city's public school system says he draws a firm line between his work as a teacher and his drag persona, but he’s not shy about celebrating diversity and inclusion.

"Drag story time is a way to lift people up, and show that as you're growing, you may not be a gender or sexual minority, but you might be related to one,” he said. “You might be friends with one."

A woman standing between the men disrupting the event and the families in attendance recorded part of the interaction on her cellphone camera.

“She’s acting like a Nazi, indoctrinating little kids with ideology,” one of the men says in the video.

As Bone, in character, continued to read to the children, one of the men protesting began to circle the children as parents and others in attendance tried to keep him away from the kids.

"Many of us parents ended up holding our children and pulling them away because these individuals started to walk through the kids, over their legs, over their hands, just to get around, just to disrupt,” said Michael Wolfe, a Richmond city councillor who attended the event with his three-year-old daughter.

Eventually, as the men continued to disrupt the event, and began pointing their own cellphone cameras at the families in attendance, Bone made the decision to end the event early.

“I’m used to having my picture taken. I kind of enjoy it most of the time,” he said. “But what really freaked me out was when the pictures started being of the kids and the families.”

An RCMP officer who happened to be in the park for the event attempted to deescalate the situation and the two men left.

Bone says police escorted him to his vehicle to ensure his safety.

He says in all the years that he has been performing in drag, he has never had protesters disrupt a show like this – and he wonders if it might be connected to something else that happened this week.

On Sunday, conservative US Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene retweeted an old video that Bone had posted on the social media site Tik Tok more than a year ago.

In the video, Bone is showing off his art classroom which is decorated with a number of rainbow flags and also has a colourful light display.

“They really meant it when they sang, 'We are coming for your children.' Maybe School Choice is not enough. We should seriously consider defunding the Department of Education.” Greene wrote in her tweet, seemingly unaware Bone teaches in Canada.

Greene has more than a million followers on Twitter and the tweet has racked up thousands of retweets, likes and replies.

"It may just be part of a trend against drag story time or it may be directly connected and coincidental. But either way, this week has been a rough week," Bone said.

According to Wolfe, Richmond councillors have asked RCMP to increase their presence at other Pride events in the city this week.

Wednesday, Premier John Horgan tweeted his support for Bone.

“I admire the courage Bryan showed here, along with parents and staff, protecting kids from people threatening violence during this event,” the Premier wrote. “But it shouldn't have been necessary, and shows we still have much more to do to end homophobia and transphobia.”