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LGBTQ Nation: Women’s biker club protects kids from conservative protestors at drag queen story hour

In Parkhill, Ontario, just a few miles east of the Michigan border, the Wind Sisters motorcycle club has been riding the roads in this southernmost Canadian province since 2011.

“Our role in the community has always been one of the great protector,” said Patricia Ginn, a self-described “butch” and longtime member.

“We wanted to come here and show protection and help the community celebrate all of our inclusivity.”

Here was the Middlesex County Library in Parkhill, where local Pride organizers put together a drag time story hour for local kids and parents on Saturday. They were confronted by a group of angry protesters shouting their opposition.

“It’s the sexualizing the outfits that they’re wearing while they’re reading to kids, I have an issue with that,” protester Bubba Pollack told CTV News. Pollack had neither been inside the library nor laid eyes on the outfits.

He and other protesters — about forty came and went over a few hours, according to Ginn — yelled their complaints at parents and children as they made their way from the library parking lot inside, under escort from the town’s local Pride group.

Ginn and her fellow Wind Sisters, clad in denim and leather, formed a human chain and kept the two groups apart.

“I gathered a few people,” Ginn told LGBTQ Nation. “And of the five of us that were there, three were allies, and I was really proud that allies were showing up for us on that day.”

One protester blared a siren through a megaphone. Another waved her sign provocatively in front of the bikers.

“When I walked up and I saw them with their bullhorns and their flags, and standing in prayer beside the door and people across the street and, just all of it, my heart was broken,” Ginn recalled.

“The event was vicious, malicious, homophobic, and dangerous,” Ginn said, getting choked up. “I just gotta take a minute, because it upsets me so much to know what the drag queens went through, to be snuck in the back door. What the kids went through to get into a library to hear a story and do some face painting.”

“I feel for the children who had to walk through that,” said Frank Emanuele, a director with Strathroy Pride. “We want to be supportive to everybody that’s brave enough to come to these events. We want to make sure they feel protected.”

Inside the library, where three Ontario state police officers were stationed in the lobby to “keep the peace,” two conservatively dressed drag queens, one with giant cat eyes painted on her face, read stories focused on “inclusiveness and kindness.”

The story hour event, organized by Strathroy Pride and the Rainbow Optimists with the support of the library, follows a controversial decision by nearby Oxford County’s Norwich Township Council last week to ban all flags and banners on municipal property that are not Federal, Provincial, or Municipal, effectively censoring any proposed symbols of Pride on public property.

“I cannot believe the regression in this community,” said Tami Murray, president of Oxford County Pride after the vote. “Unfortunately, it just means my job is not done.”

Days later in Parkhill, “They were literally attacking the children,” Ginn said. “I had no idea how vicious these protesters would be. That really got me riled up. Just don’t stand there and scream that kind of foul language at children.”

“And to see their little terrorized faces as they were coming up the walk, as we were escorting them from the corner into the building. And we were working towards smiling at them and applauding them as they went in, when right behind us was an angry mob.

“One woman sent a note and said, ‘I was at the event. And me and my two children were cornered by the protesters and I want to thank you so much for being there for us to help us get in the door.’ And that was not an isolated story.”

LGBTQ Nation