A group of agitators who likely came from far out of town descended on the Castro Sunday to preach intolerance and tell people they should be taking their kids to church instead of to see drag queens read stories.
Drag queens are more ubiquitous than ever in American culture, and so they've become a flashpoint in the culture wars. So it was that a group of protesters/evangelists showed up at the corner of Noe and Market streets to make noise during a family-friendly Winter Wonderland event on Sunday — or, as state Senator Scott Wiener put it to the Chronicle, "They are a bunch of homophobes who came to our wonderful block party to tell us we are all going to hell."
The Winter Wonderland block party, organized by the Castro Merchants association, was one of multiple family-oriented events to happen on that block of Noe Street this year — others have centered around Pride and Halloween. The event featured a petting zoo, an inflatable Santa, an art market, a real live Santa taking wish lists, drag performances, and a Drag Queen Story Hour — the latter likely being what brought out the homophobes.
The homophobe squad has descended on the Castro, telling us we’re going to hell b/c we’re LGBTQ.— Senator Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) December 18, 2022
They’re protesting a neighborhood holiday festival, with performances, including by drag queens.
Super classy to disrupt a fun community event & lecture us how to live our lives. pic.twitter.com/YThmIodWob
There was also a Sexy Elf Contest for the adults, with a $500 prize. (According to the Castro Merchants' website, the "kiddo" events were from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the all-ages events were from 2 to 5 p.m.)
As the Chronicle reports, a drag queen named Per Sia read from books titled "Bye Bye Binary" and "It Feels Good to Be Yourself."
There were about 20 of the anti-gay protesters in all, and per the Chronicle, "Some fairgoers got into a lively discourse" with them, until the police came and separated the two factions. Ultimately, the protesters left.
The group seems similar to one that traveled to Guerneville earlier this year to protest outside of a lesbian-owned pizza business — something which inspired a counter-protest involving signs made from pizza boxes that essentially said "fuck off."
One of the demonstrators in that group, Loi Nguyen of San Francisco, told the Press-Democrat at the time that the group had demonstrated in SF and at UC Berkeley but they chose to target Guerneville this past spring because of "the foot traffic."
Ultimately, it doesn't seem as though the Castro contingent disrupted much or caused too much of a stir. Organizer Greg Carey told the Chronicle that around 750 people participated in the event, and the kids all seemed to have a good time.