Apex, North Carolina, Mayor Jacques Gilbert announced Saturday that the proposed LGBT Pride event “Drag Queen Story Hour” has been canceled after backlash from the community.
Gilbert said in a Facebook post that the event was shut down after he shared feedback from the local community to the festival commission hosting the event.
“Given that this part of the event was not originally presented when the event was proposed, I met with representatives from the organizations hosting the event, the Apex Festival Commission, and presented the feedback I have received from citizens,” Gilbert wrote.
“Today, I was notified that the Apex Festival Commission has taken the feedback into careful consideration and has decided to remove the Drag Queen Story Hour from the event,” he continued.
Gilbert concluded by stating his goal was to “ensure that all voices in our community are represented.”
The comments and feedback from the announcement were filled with support and criticism of the city’s decision. It prompted Gilbert to disable further commentary on the post, citing “hate speech” as his reason for the censorship.
“This was THE Pride event I was planning to attend with my toddler,” one woman posted, saying she was “very disappointed.”
She went on to write to Gilbert, saying that “if your goal is to ensure that all voices in our community are represented, you should speak out against the silencing of this segment of the local community.”
One respondent said he thought the action was a “reasonable decision,” going on to state that “this performance (stage names, etc.) is too adult for a children’s activity.” He thanked the mayor and the committee for their decision.
The organizers of Apex Pride claimed violent threats played into the cancellation. In a report by the local CBS affiliate, the organizers said, “While the event may seem to be a small part in the festivities, the Drag Queen Story Hour can have a big impact on kids.”
They said that they were “shocked” and “saddened” that the committee removed the event from the festivities.
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