The LGBT+ Center (Facebook) was forced to cancel a weekend drag queen story hour it had planned for October 29 when it started to receive threats from extremist groups last week.
Roughly 75 children and their families were expected to attend the sold-out event before the Center was made aware of online calls for a protest to be held at their venue, with members expected to attend from the National Socialist Movement, White Lives Matter, Patriot Front, The Proud Boys, and the Nationalist Socialist Front.
According to an email shared by Representative Anna Eskamani, the NSM is part of Florida’s overlapping white supremacist network that also includes the antisemitic Goyim Defense League (Website). In January 2022, more than a dozen individuals associated with this network participated in a neo-Nazi demonstration in Orlando, during which several of the attendees spat on, pepper-sprayed, and punched a Jewish man who stopped to confront the group. In February 2022, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department arrested and charged three people for their alleged roles in the hate crime assault.
“Words cannot adequately express my disgust for Nazis. These threats of violence targeting both the LGBTQ+ community and Jewish community have become all too common in the United States and in Florida. We must stand together — across party lines — to oppose this hatred and bigotry. I urge everyone who shares in my outrage to speak up against the rise of homophobia, transphobia, anti-semitism, and fascism in our society. I also urge you to please vote for leaders that don’t empower this behavior and instead vote for those who work to unify us, vs divide.”– REP. ANNA ESKAMANI
The Center is currently working with Equality Florida, law enforcement, and the Anti-Defamation League.