Above: Drag Queen Storytime Event at the San José Public Library, in California.
A public library in Ohio cancelled an LGBTQ Pride event for teens after Republican House Speaker Larry Householder objected.
The event, “A Universe of Stories—Galaxy of Diversity,” was to take place June 7 after hours in Newark, and include a drag queen makeup tutorial, crafts, a safe-sex program, and games, according to The Newark Advocate.
Householder sent a letter to the Licking County Library System opposing the event, calling it a matter of “right and wrong.”
“When I was first informed our public libraries were being used to teach teenage boys how to become drag queens, I thought it was a joke,” he wrote.
I sent this letter to the Ohio Library Council today. Our public libraries are great resources for young & old alike. But they should not be a resource for teenage boys to learn how to dress in drag. I demand it stop now !!! pic.twitter.com/uL2ujHZU3a
— Speaker Larry Householder (@HouseholderOH) May 31, 2019
The Newark Ohio Pride Coalition released a statement in response, noting it had fully funded the event. It also asked Householder to “respect the civil liberties of Newark, Ohio’s residents,” and “take the time to gather accurate facts, prior to issuing a factually inaccurate response to a program hosted by and for our community.”
By late Friday the library had folded to the pressure, issuing a statement announcing the event’s cancellation.
“We have learned that several people felt this was some sort of Drag Queen training workshop,” the statement said. “This was not the case, but never the less, we have decided to cancel. We appreciate the discussion and comments we received and regret the enormous amount of misinformation that has occurred the last two days.”
The Newark Ohio Pride Coalition has rennamed the event “Neverending Nova,” and relocated it to the Denison Art Space in Newark.
Earlier this month, in a nearby town, a class titled “Drag 101” was moved from the Delaware County Library to another location after the woman teaching it received death threats.