Protests erupt outside all-age drag show put on by LGBTQ Center

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SOUTH BEND, Ind., --- An all-age drag show put on by the LGBTQ Center of South Bend drew out dozens of protesters including religious groups and members of the Proud Boys, a far-right nationalist group. Several police officers also had to respond to keep the peace.

The LGBTQ Center executive director told ABC57 they upped security and even alerted South Bend Police after getting threats about the Proud Boys coming to the show, but Friday’s protest was largely driven by members of religious groups speaking out against the all-age event that welcomed local families.

 “It’s for young people who want to see drag performances but can’t go to a bar. This is just a great opportunity, it’s a fun family event,” said H.R. Jung, the Executive Director for South Bend’s LGBTQ Center.

Jung said organizers got word of threats from members of the Proud Boys circulating on social media days before the event.

 “We take threats like that seriously when we hear about Proud Boys or other hate groups that are very anti-LGBTQ. We want to make sure we’re providing a safe space,” explained Jung. “The Well who’s hosting they’ve been really great, they’re providing extra people here.”

Dozens stood outside the coffee shop to serve as security.

 “It’s important that we as a community show up for each other and the more people who are out here the safer we are,” said a member with the Northern Indiana Atheist group.

Jung believes the demonstration also proves just how important these events are.

“We don’t really have a larger connection to the larger LGBTQ community, and this is an opportunity for them to meet and build those networks and also for the larger community as well, it’s really good for the straight community to come out and support and get exposed to what queer culture is like,” he added.

“We’re not going to be bullied and that’s what they want. They want us to cancel because we’re of what they might do and we’re not going to do that.”

Jung told ABC57 the LGBTQ Center will continue to put on family friendly events like these.

For more resources about the center click here.

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