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Drag Queen Story Time carries on with event despite bomb threat, counter-protests

Security threats and counter protests did not derail the joy felt by hundreds supporting Drag Queen Story Time Sunday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Despite a bomb threat and counter protests, nothing could derail the joy felt by hundreds supporting Sunday's Drag Queen Storytime.

The LGBTQ+ nonprofit hosted a “Reading with Pride” event in the Portland neighborhood. It featured several drag queens, reading LGBT-inclusive children's books.

There was also music and a goat petting zoo.

The nonprofit has been hosting similar events in Louisville for the last several years. According to its website, "Drag Queen Story Timeー Kentucky is just what it sounds like: local drag queens reading stories to children."

Even organizers said of the 200 that RSVP’d, 75 or so showed up for the event March 26. They were met with just as many working to keep people safe.

“I've lived in Louisville my entire life,” Scanlon, a transgender man and supporter of the event said. “I'm not going to let anyone come here and make kids feel unsafe. Absolutely not."

Julian Adam is a Drag Queen Storytime-Kentucky board member.

"None of us [volunteers] are paid,” Adam said. “We're all doing it because we believe in the impact education can have." 

Some of those who volunteered came armed and dressed in combat gear.

In a post to its Facebook page, Drag Queen Storytime-Kentucky said it had to evacuate the property due to a bomb threat but added its staff “took immediate action."

“We evacuated the property, but once we had the go-ahead that we were able to come back, we had everyone come back in,” Adam said.

A group of no more than five showed up in opposition. They marched up-and-down the block, holding a picture of Jesus and a sign that said "drag queen story time is child abuse."

"I don't necessarily give anyone like that energy because I believe that feeds into them,” Adam said. “I'm going to focus on love and positivity.”

Mom Buffy Greenwell echoed that sentiment.

"It upsets me because [the counter protestors] are using our Jesus to promote hate,” she said. “That's not right. That's not what Jesus was about."

Greenwell and her 12-year-old daughter Jaelyn enjoyed their first time at the event. They say it won't be the last.

"It was honestly really wholesome and nice,” Jaelyn said. “There were other little kids younger than me [at the event]. It was amazing, nothing inappropriate.”

Everyone who spoke with WHAS11 said they had the same take-away after the event:

"The joy. The joy here, the joy in the community, the kids ー it's overwhelming,” Scanlon said. “That's part of what it’s all about.”

“You're hearing the joy that's coming from people [who] have gotten together and said ‘We are going to make this a priority. We're going to make education a priority. We're going to make exposure to LGBT youth a priority for the world.’" 

Supporters said no matter what roadblocks may lie ahead, they won't let their voices be silenced.

Contact reporter Connor Steffen at csteffen@whas11.com or on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.  

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