Orlando drag queen story hour canceled amid hate group threats
Bridgette Galore.

Drag Queen Story Hour
Calls from neo-Nazi groups promoted the change of plans.

Threats from neo-Nazi groups prompted the cancellation of a drag queen story hour in Orlando.

The LGBT+ Center Orlando announced it would nix the event, scheduled for Oct. 29, out of caution.

“Due to several threats from hate groups aimed at The Center and to those participating in Drag Queen Story Hour, we have decided to cancel the event for this Saturday’s Halloween Edition scheduled for 2PM,” reads a Facebook post from the Center.

“We take these threats very seriously and would not want to endanger or expose children and their parents and guardians to bigotry and hate. We have the support of so many in our community including law enforcement, but as much as we would like to continue this fun-loving, innocent event, we feel that the safety of our community is our number one concern. Thank you for your understanding that we live in challenging times right now, and we don’t want to expose or endanger innocent children to hate, bigotry or violence.”

The event, which had been supported with a grant from the City of Orlando, was to feature Bridgette Galore.

Local political figures and LGBTQ leaders spoke out against the hatred that prompted the cancellation. Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, an Orlando Democrat and one of three openly gay lawmakers in the Florida Legislature, said it’s a shame hate can shut down a community event.

“I’m sad and angry that threats like these continue to happen against the LGBTQ community,” he said. “Neo-Nazis organizing in Florida against Drag Queen Story Time? This is really dangerous and scary. And it is why we have always spoken out against homophobia and transphobia, and it is continuing to be promoted by right-wing politicians.”

Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, also tweeted her dismay at the development.

“Nazis are planning to come to Orlando and target our LGBTQ+ community,” she tweeted. “We were actually made aware of this last week via Equality Florida and ADL (Anti-Defamation League). Both organizations are working with impacted groups to keep folks safe. Hate has no place in our community.”

Notably, a similar event prompted threats last month connected to Space Coast Pride, though that event proceeded as planned.

Drag queen story hours this year have become a hot-button political issue with many social conservative groups contending such events expose children to sexual messages at a young age.

After video of a Dallas drag show with children in the audience, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Florida would crack down on such youth-oriented events if they occurred in Florida. In July, the state went after the liquor license of a business after a similar show was filmed there.

But of note, story hours are different from drag shows, and typically involve just having a drag queen read to gathered children in attendance.

“Drag queen story time is about celebrating diversity and inclusion, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that,” Smith said.

But Smith suggested the political environment over the past year has been allowed to thrive in part because DeSantis has not condemned open demonstrations by neo-Nazi groups in the state, including some at a Republican conference in Tampa that flew flags for “DeSantis country.”

Many Republican leaders, including Senate President and Agriculture Commissioner candidate Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls, have been eager to condemn neo-Nazi groups operating in Florida.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


11 comments

  • Tom

    October 24, 2022 at 4:50 pm

    I saw Marco Rubio in drag back in the 1990’s in Miami. I swear on my mother’s grave it was him.

  • Tjb

    October 24, 2022 at 4:57 pm

    Do you think DeSantis, Rubio or Scott will speak out and condemned these Neo-Nazi group and their hateful threats? Don’t good Christians speak up against hate?
    John 4:20
    If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

    • Ocean Joe

      October 24, 2022 at 5:56 pm

      You want them to complain about their voter base?

      • Tjb

        October 24, 2022 at 7:10 pm

        Some folks have moral compasses. Do they?

  • Tjb

    October 24, 2022 at 4:59 pm

    Do you think DeSantis, Rubio or Scott will speak out and condemned these Neo-Nazi groups and their hateful threats? Don’t good Christians speak up against hate?
    1 John 4:20

    If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen

  • David In Shoreline

    October 24, 2022 at 8:05 pm

    Don’t lump me in with the neo-nazis, but regular, sane, hard working Florida parents don’t want their children attending draq queen story time. Boys can’t become girls and vice versa, so let’s stop shoving that crap down kids throats. Unless of course you are a groomer, then I understand your fixation with freaks.

    • Tjb

      October 25, 2022 at 10:16 am

      David,
      No one stated that you are a Neo-Nazi, but it is interesting that you made the statement not to be lumped in with the Nazi’s.
      Also, are you grooming you children to hate other humans? Are you insecure about your own sexuality doing a discussion that address hatred toward drag queens.

  • C. R.

    October 25, 2022 at 12:35 pm

    David, Tjb,.
    1. I’ve gone occasionally to drag shows, and have had friends and acquaintances over the past 30yrs that did drag professionally or for fun, but I’ve always found this form of entertainment to definitely be for adults not kids, and as far as reading kids stories I don’t get it? Why?
    2. David, be careful what you say in front of your kids. calling someone who is different a freak can backfire on you. What so many straight parents don’t understand is that they may have a little boy or little girl that’s gay and when those little kids hear the person they look up to the most saying that LGBTQ people are freaks or disgusting or the worst thing on earth those kids start to hate themselves, the damage this causes makes their lives so much harder. It destroys their self esteem and many will turn to drugs and even kill themselves..
    Straight folks need to worry less about the gay community and worry more about showing their kids unconditional love.. and make them know that they are beautiful and perfect no matter what..

    • marylou

      October 29, 2022 at 2:08 pm

      I’m sure there are all kinds of drag shows. I have not been to any that would be inappropriate for children. I have seen shows where drag performers dressed as famous singers like Elvis Presley or Diana Ross attempted realistic imitations. The other type drag performance that I have seen is comedy–like Mrs Doubtfire. There’s no reason that parents should be afraid of either reading a children’s story. As far as I can tell, Desantis is the only one thinking of sex. Again.

  • Jeff W. Anglea

    October 26, 2022 at 3:06 pm

    Stop forcing a mental defect disguised as a personal choice on innocent children. Woman and man not a confused mish-mash. Kids deal with enough BS in life and need to play on playgrounds, play with stuffed animals, enjoy nature, learn about the world, ride bikes, follow a stream collecting rocks, read about the universe…. Forcing them to interact and see people with an identity crisis is confusing enough. If this was a Bible reading everyone would have a damn stroke. If you are going to do this nonsense then how about weekly readings of the Stanic Bible or from the Boy Lovers Club of Men?? Be reasonable. Be considerate. Child abuse is not just physical. Politically, personally and ideologically charged mind fucks like this to children should be met with the same charges and sexual and physical abuse of children.

    • Jeff

      October 26, 2022 at 3:13 pm

      **Same charges as sexual and physical**

      Sorry for the error.

Comments are closed.


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