'Message of hatred': Controversial stickers posted at LGBT Center of Raleigh

Wednesday, March 11, 2020
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Controversial stickers posted at LGBT Center of Raleigh

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- The LGBT Center of Raleigh filed a police report after finding controversial stickers targeting the gay community on their doors Monday.

Meanwhile, a local LGBTQ event is facing increasing protests.

The stickers said gay people account for 67 percent of new HIV infections and one-third of child molesters, among other statements.

"It's about the message," said Lindsey Lughes, Executive Director of the LGBT Center of Raleigh. "It's about the fact that they're spreading a message of hatred."

The name "Hundred Handers" is on the stickers. ABC11 tried finding information on that group but they seem to operate anonymously so it's tough to track them.

"They say really inflammatory, completely inaccurate statistics. A lot of the old tropes that we now know in 2020 are not true but things about LGBTQ folks being more likely to contract HIV or harm children," said Lughes. "All of that has been wildly, over and over again debunked."

"They're spreading inaccurate things. It's about the fact that this has a real impact on the LGBTQ+ people who see them," Lughes said.

Drag Queen Story Hour Raleigh has seen a growing number of protesters. Their last event drew more than two dozen protesters.

Raleigh's first 'Drag Queen Reading Hour' faces online backlash

The event faced backlash since it began in June. But protesters quieted down then ramped back up this year.

"Since January, we've started seeing them," said Elise Chenoweth, organizer of Drag Queen Story Hour Raleigh. "They're coming to every event no matter where we go."

The story hour goes on monthly at Medicine Mama's Farmacy in Raleigh, with other events elsewhere.

"We bring stories of inclusion, diversity and kindness to children all over the area in Raleigh and surrounding areas," Chenoweth said. "It's disappointing to me that these kids can't just go to a story hour and just enjoy it without having to walk past a bunch of people."

She added that volunteers help shield the protesters from the children and volunteers.

"We choose not to engage any of the protesters," Chenoweth said. "We just turn our backs to them and put positivity on our faces."

The LGBT Center hopes the controversial words don't turn into hateful actions.

"Our hope is always that, of course, it stays to stickers and words," Lughes said. "We take safety precautions here at the center, of course, to make sure that we're prepared if it ever, if anybody ever were to try to escalate any of these things... It's just a reminder of why it's so important for us to continue to do the work we do to fight the prejudice that LGBTQ people face all the time."

Raleigh Police said the incident is under investigation and that the chief is working on meeting with leaders of the LGBT community.