Earlier today, July 13, a group of violent anti-LGBTQ+ protesters stormed the Tralee Library, Co Kerry, while a drag storytime event was taking place, leaving children and staff terrified and upset.
The drag storytime event was part of the lineup for Kingdom Pride month and took place at 1pm in a side room of the library. As reported by the Irish Independent, a video was posted online showing anti-LGBTQ+ protesters barging into the library in Kerry during the event and aggressively pushing a person out of their way.
While children were listening to a story read by drag performers Butch Chastity and Miggeldy Bubbles, the demonstrators started shouting that it was “immoral to read filth to children”. This went on for several minutes before Gardaí intervened. Eyewitnesses described the scene as a “terrifying situation”.
“It was the most frightened I’ve ever been as a gay person. It was terrifying,” said one of the participants of the event.
One of the staff members at the Tralee Library said, “It took a while to get it sorted. We phoned the guards they took statements. It was in a side room and it was very loud. It wasn’t a nice situation.”
Another person present at the event took to Twitter to comment on what happened, saying that the Kingdom Pride volunteers did a “great job” at dealing with a “terrifying situation”. They added that the demonstrators “did their best to disrupt, including becoming violent and storming the room where children were listening to the story…I refuse to be scared of being Queer and celebrating my culture with my son.”
The staff at @KerryLibrary are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met and I’ve been going there since I was a child – this is absolutely vile and solidarity to all staff and patrons of Tralee library. Fuck TERFs and fuck fascists, forever. https://t.co/nuMLRix3Yz
— kate ? (@katemoorewrites) July 13, 2023
Over the past several weeks, there have been a worrying number of reports of people entering public libraries across the country and objecting to the presence of LGBTQ+ reading material in the young adult section of the libraries.
Library staff have been subjected to intimidation, slurs and videos of them being recorded without their consent. Public library workers across Ireland have been advised to secure their buildings and alert Gardaí when protests trying to remove LGBTQ+ books from shelves initiate.
Last week, a solidarity march took place in Cork, after library workers were subjected to intimidation and harassment by far-right groups. Following this protest, the safety of Cork City library staff was discussed in a Cork City Council meeting on Monday this week.
The incident that took place in Kerry today is being investigated by Gardaí. According to the Garda Press Office, they are conducting enquiries into all the circumstances surrounding this matter, but no arrests have been made at this time.
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