Turning Point UK Continues Focus on Drag Storytelling Events

From the Pink News at the end of last month:

A rally organised by right-wing group Turning Point UK against Magical Storytelling at The Honor Oak pub in Lewisham, south east London, was dwarfed in number by those attending a loud and colourful counter-protest made up up of LGBTQ+ people, allies and anti-fascist groups.

Around 30 protestors – including anti-LGBTQ+ GB News host and Free Church of England member Deacon Calvin Robinson – attended the Turning Point UK protest, which was forced to take place around 100 metres from the pub after the road was blocked by hundreds of people defending the family event, hosted by drag queen That Girl.

Dozens of police attended the scene to prevent the two sides from mixing as LGBTQ+ supporters drowned out a speech from Robinson with a chorus of boos, sirens and chants of “You’re not a real vicar”.

This is part of a trend in recent months – I noted an example last July, at which a Drag Queen Story Hour was protested in Reading by Covid anti-vax activists seeking to broaden the scope of their moral entrepreneurship. Turning Point UK speakers at Honor Oak included “Chairman of the Orthodox Conservatives Colonel James Bogle”, along with TPUK COO Nick Tenconi and Grenadier Roy Brinkley.

The complaint of the protestors is that drag acts are “sexualised” entertainment that should be for adults only. Artistes may excise bawdy references from their routines, but flamboyant, camp and/or skimpy costuming and deportment are deemed to be inherently sexual rather than clownish or comedic. This is useful, as it means that objectors do not have to articulate an argument for censorship on the basis that drag artistes are bad gender role models (a typical moral panic trope unlikely to impress), but can instead focus on the more sinister notion of “grooming”.

Robinson’s formulation of what this means was noted recently by David Aaronovitch:

Robinson demanded with something approaching rhetorical ability: “Ask not why your children are so keen to spend time with drag queens, ask why drag queens are so keen to spend time with your children.” This is not so much an insinuation as an accusation.

On Twitter, Raheem Kassam drew attention to a self-made banner stating “Queer Joy Is For All Ages” as evidence that the counter-protestors were a “pro pedo demonstration” – an interpretation that was amplifed by Robinson.

Turning Point UK will be at it again this Friday, where Robinson will this time be joined by his friend Laurence Fox (no stranger to making “paeodphile” taunts). TPUK branding for the protest is shared with their Bad Law Project.

Also on the line up this time is Pastor Rikki Doolan. Doolan is the spokesman for a British-Zimbabwean evangelist named Uebert Angel, who has the status of “Ambassador at Large” for Zimbabwe’s government. Undercover footage of the two men features in a clip for an upcoming Al-Jaazera documentary about gold smuggling in Zimbabwe.

One protestor who may or may not be present on Friday is Brian Stovell (“Brexit Brian”), who posed with Robinson for a photo-op in Lewisham just before being arrested for doing a Nazi salute at the counter protestors.

UPDATE (11 March): The BBC reports:

Protesters stood outside an empty pub on Friday morning to rally against a non-existent drag event.

Turning Point UK had organised a demonstration at The Great Exhibition pub in East Dulwich for 11:00 GMT.

…A spokesperson for CLIP, which hosted a Drag Storytime event at the venue in July 2022, told BBC London that the venue’s website was still showing the event as running monthly because the listings had not been updated.

Turning Point UK were told beforehand that there was no event, but claimed that the listing showed that one had been planned.

As noted by Matthew Sweet, Stovell was again present and welcome; Fox’s activist associate Martin Daubney, who was also there, has expressed scepticism of images associating Stovell with Hitler-salute gestures.

Matthew also noted that on Christmas Day Tenconi posted a Tweet showing him shaking hands with Kyle Rittenhouse. Tenconi’s message to the man who shot dead two people in Kenosha was “Alpha > Liberal betas” and “huge fan of your work”.

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