A Florida library canceled an LGBTQ-inclusive prom after receiving threats, fearing objections to the event would jeopardize the safety of those attending.
The Jacksonville Public Library organized a “Storybook Pride Prom,” inviting teenagers to “come dressed inspired by your favorite book character – casual, formal, or in drag – whatever makes you feel great.”
However, the event met opposition when conservative activist Elizabeth Johnston campaigned against the affair, urging her supporters to follow her lead. That was when the library decided to cancel the prom.
“Express your disgust that this pervasion is taking place in a taxpayer funded library,” Johnston told her 636,000 Facebook followers. She is known as “The Activist Mommy” on social media.
Chris Boivin, Jacksonville Public Library Assistant Director of Community Relations and Marketing, said the event was intended to be “a fun night for teens who may not feel comfortable in other situations or other places… We thought we would give them a nice little prom, where they could have a good time.”
Boivin added the library heard rumors of protests against the gathering and “it really started to shape up as something where the entire environment around the library would be something that we thought we just weren’t gonna be able to control the risk.”
JPL subsequently released a message on its Facebook page reading:
According to The Florida Times-Union, over 100 teenagers registered to attend the event.
Local drag performer Beatrice Palmer, also known as “BeBe Deluxe,” was disappointed that the library “caved under pressure… from a religious hate group.” Palmer was set to perform at the event.
“Safe, age-appropriate spaces are essential for all young people,” Palmer said. “Unfortunately, many LGBTQ+ kids aren’t given that opportunity.”
Fox News' Morgan Cheung and the Associated Press contributed to this report.