Most of America was basking in the Christmas spirit in the weeks leading up to the holiday. But men and women in New York City were outraged that a drag queen would read a storybook to neurodiverse children at a Manhattan library. The angry rioters hurled slurs and obscenities about the LGBTQ community outside of the drag queen event at the Andrew Heiskell Library in the Chelsea neighborhood on Saturday – only one week after one man was arrested for assaulting a New York Police Department officer at a similar event.

A city council member had appeared at the drag queen event to support it. This person managed to record the protestors who had gathered outside of the library to verbally assault the children and their parents who were arriving to partake in the storybook reading.

“Today, I witnessed pure hatred and bigotry outside Drag Queen Story Hour at a public library in Chelsea. Inside, I witnessed a loving and peaceful reading of children’s books to kids,” tweeted New York City Council Member Erik Bottcher.

Supporters of these drag queen storytime events believe that these readings support inclusivity and diversity. These readings also expose children to the LGBTQ community so they can be more supportive people as they grow up.

Critics of these drag queen storytime events suggest that the organizers are sexually “grooming” children to partake in LGBTQ activities.

Nevertheless, haters gathered outside of the Andrew Heiskell Library in Manhattan to protest the event that the New York Public Library described as “story time with local drag performers adapted to be more accessible to kids with autism and other disabilities.”

The protesters screamed obscenities and hurled insults at the children and their parents, aiming to stop them from attending the event. The hatred that was visible outside of the library was a stark contrast to what was happening inside – where drag queens were reading stories about acceptance and inclusivity for neurodiverse kids.

Despite the ugliness outside, supporters of these events remain undeterred in their mission to spread love and understanding through these storybook readings. It is clear that there are still those who oppose such efforts at inclusivity, but advocates will continue holding these events across America as a sign of solidarity with those whose voices have been silenced for too long.

It is an uphill battle, but it’s one that’s worth fighting for and one that will help create a more understanding and tolerant society.

Drag Queen Story Hour events are not just about providing an entertaining storytime experience for children but about opening the minds of kids to accepting people from all walks of life – no matter their race, gender identity, or sexual orientation. It is this message of acceptance and inclusion which must be embraced in order to move forward as a society.

We must stand together and support inclusivity, acceptance, and understanding. We must reject hatred and bigotry in all forms.