A group of Proud Boys, fascists, and anti-LGBTQ+ protestors attempted to disrupt a Drag bingo fundraiser in a tense altercation.
A group of people reportedly affiliated with various far-right groups, including the Proud Boys, protested at the First Christian Church in Katy, Texas on Saturday (24 September), as a sponsored family drag bingo charity event was taking place.
The sold-out show aimed to raise money for LGBTQ+ nonprofit Transparent Closet, which aims to provide clothing for “trans and exploring teens, youth, and young adults” but was quickly overwhelmed by anti-LGBTQ+ protestors.
It further reported that anti-fascist counter-protestors had planned to blockade the neo-Nazi disruptors, who were reportedly wearing Nazi regalia and far-right paraphernalia.
Anti-fascists blared music from the trailer of the upcoming Little Mermaid film, which has been attacked by racists and far-right pundits for casting Black actor Halle Bailey as Ariel.
Authorities from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Harris County Sheriff’s Department responded to the rising tensions by attempting to separate the two groups.
A video from journalist Jay R. Jordan shows a brief altercation in which the two groups spray what appears to be pepper spray at each other while armed police attempt to keep them separated on either side of the road where the church is located.
Further pictures revealed the disgusting signs brought by the Proud Boys, with one claiming that “LGBT is Talmud Jew s**t” while another reads “homosexuality is an abomination to mankind.”
This isn’t the first time that the First Christian Church has experienced homophobic harassment. As an LGBTQ-inclusive space, the organisation has seen three separate incidents of theft and vandalism charges in 2022 alone.
Its Facebook page is filled with cruel and homophobic messages insulting its members, with one saying it is “another false church leading people to hell instead of heaven.”
“This congregation has always been a place where what they value most about the teachings of Christianity is an openness and willingness for all people and the idea that Jesus came to love all,” reverend Heather Tolleson said to the Houston Chronicle. “We’re a representation of that love.”
When asked about the threat of anti-LGBTQ+ protestors prior to the event’s proceedings, she said: “Our first and foremost line of concern is everyone’s safety. All we want is for a safe and peaceful night to happen.
“We value diversity, and we know not everyone agrees with us,” Tolleson continued. “With that at heart, we have done what we needed to do to take care of and provide a safe environment.”
Harris County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Thomas Gilliland said that “it really is sad to see this kind of thing happening in Katy.
“Katy is such a diverse and welcoming community, and there are a lot of churches here. To know that this is happening to one of them is upsetting.”