A member of MassResistance, designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center to be an anti-LGBTQ hate group, disrupted drag queen story hour at Riverside’s Cellar Door bookstore last week, Oct. 27—which annoyed out Rep. Mark Takano. Hearing the news, he called his friend, book store owner Linda Sherman-Nurick, and offered to participated in a drag queen reading.
“I will be there,” Takano told the Los Angeles Blade he promised Sherman-Nurick.
The event, featuring Halloween books read by three drag queens, apparently angered several people. That included Genevieve Peters, who drove the nearly two-hour trek from LA to downtown Riverside with Jess Right specifically to record and protest the event.
Peters later told KNBC4’s Tony Shin that she was part of the Torrance-based California chapter of MassResistance, which came to the attention of Angelinos during the fight over Prop 8. “This is about saying ‘You know what, this is a perverse lifestyle and if you choose it, it’s your business,” Peters said. “But we as Americans can choose not to agree with it,” Peters later told KNBC4.
Sherman-Nurick told the Los Angeles Blade in a phone interview Thursday, Nov. 1, that she had received angry phone calls from people saying that the store shouldn’t host that event.
“There’s quite a few indie bookstores hosting drag queen story time,” Sherman-Nurick said, adding that she told those callers “that’s fine, you don’t have to come.” She said that the event proved popular with many of her regular customers, some who had traveled from as far away as San Diego to attend with their children.
During the event, Sherman-Nurick said she noticed a woman recording video with a mobile phone. She explained to the woman that she couldn’t record the children without their parents permission.
However, Peters refused to stop. The situation escalated after several parents surrounded Peters and demanded she cease recording. A security guard for the book store intervened, as well.
Finally, Sherman-Nurick called the Riverside Police Department to remove her. Peters told police that she wasn’t recording the children, just the drag queens. She then voluntarily departed and no charges were made.
Peters told KNBC4 that she decided to attend the reading because she feels that the country is going down an immoral path. “For the last 30 years, the homosexual agenda has been first and foremost wanting to desensitize our communities, our children, our families,” she said.
Sherman-Nurick said she has been getting dozens of mostly positive calls, emails, as well as messages on the store’s Facebook page. Her customers have also been extremely supportive, including her long time friend Mark Takano. Rafael Elizalde, a spokesperson for Takano confirmed that “if the calendars align,” the Congressmember would be more than happy to read alongside the drag queens.
Sherman-Nurick said a parent from San Diego, who attended the event, told her that she found Peters’ website and her child was clearly visible in the video. She’s contacted a lawyer to look into the violation of her child’s privacy.
Reporting by KNBC 4 Los Angeles and the staff of the Los Angeles Blade