Home Uncategorized Drag queen ‘story hour’ at Pennsylvania library is canceled after bomb threat

Drag queen ‘story hour’ at Pennsylvania library is canceled after bomb threat

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A planned Drag Queen story hour at a Pennsylvania library was canceled after several bomb threats and the discovery of a suspicious package in the building.

The Lancaster Public Library and two blocks in the downtown area were evacuated on Saturday following the reported threats against a nearby building housing a Starbucks and the library’s executive director Lissa Holland.

The event, featuring drag queen Amie Vanité, had drawn impassioned opposition from some residents during a marathon county commissioners meeting Wednesday, the second meeting in a row marked by resident protests after Republican commissioners denounced the event as inappropriate, LancasterOnline reported.

A city spokesperson later told LancasterOnline that a dog had alerted on the package found in the library and the contents were later found to be ‘benign’ but ‘subsequently, we received additional written threats via email.’

Lancaster Pride, a nonprofit that celebrates the town’s LGBTQ+ community, posted a notice on social media that the ‘Drag Story Hour with Miss Amie’ had been canceled, saying ‘the safety and well-being of our community are of utmost importance to us.’

The event in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, featuring drag queen Amie Vanité, had drawn impassioned opposition from some residents and lawmakers

The event in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, featuring drag queen Amie Vanité, had drawn impassioned opposition from some residents and lawmakers 

A city spokesperson later told LancasterOnline that a dog had alerted on the package found in the library and the contents were later found to be 'benign'

A city spokesperson later told LancasterOnline that a dog had alerted on the package found in the library and the contents were later found to be ‘benign’

'I am appalled,' the drag performer, whose real name is Christopher Paolini said after the event's cancellation

‘I am appalled,’ the drag performer, whose real name is Christopher Paolini said after the event’s cancellation

Some 500 families had signed up for the event. 

The drag performer, whose real name is Christopher Paolini, told DailyMail.com he was getting ready for the event when the alarms at the library went off and an evacuation order was issued.

‘I’m appalled at the events of Saturday. I can’t comprehend this level of hate or judgment. I come from a place of love, and that love is unconditional,’ Paolini added. 

‘It’s completely hypocritical that the only way these people can attempt to “win the day” and “keep innocent lives safe” is by resorting to threats of violence and domestic terrorism toward a wholesome and super fun program promoting kindness and love appropriate for all ages all over the world.’

Commissioner Josh Parsons had previously said libraries ‘should be places for kids to safely read and learn, not politicized social laboratories for woke ideology.’ Fellow commissioner Ray D´Agostino said he thought there was a link between children being more ‘confused, anxious and stressed’ than ever and people ‘trying to push adult themed issues at such an early age.’

Scores of people attended a prayer vigil in the plaza adjacent to the library Friday night opposing the event.

Both Parsons and D’Agostino issued statements Saturday afternoon condemning the reported threats and calling for the prosecution of those responsible regardless of their motives, LancasterOnline reported.

‘Threats of violence have no place in our debates,’ Parsons said.

Paolini told DailyMail.com that critics of the event ‘purposely misrepresented what actually was going to take place’ at the library.

He added: ‘They dropped a verbal grenade, closed the door, let it explode, sat back to watch hatred and chaos unfold, then just walked away taking absolutely no accountability for fueling and fanning the flames that incited domestic terrorism in a city full of thousands of people – residents and visitors – that they represent. 

‘They want to say that my programs aren’t safe or appropriate for children, that I’m endangering their welfare and causing trauma. What happened on Saturday is what is unsafe, not appropriate, endangers welfare, and causes trauma for a whole community of people – young, old, gay, straight, and everyone in between.’

Holland, the library´s executive director, told LancasterOnline she was ‘really sad, very disappointed and angry’ about the cancelation.

‘The library should be a place of safety. … And as I´ve told people numerous times this week, like every book in the library is not for every person, every program is maybe not for every person. But we don´t censor,’ she said.

The listing for the ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ on the library’s events page called on attendees to ‘Join Miss Amie Vanité as she spreads awareness and acceptance by celebrating diversity, inclusiveness, kindness and love through LGBTQ+ literature for young readers.’

Police said: 'subsequently, we received additional written threats via email'

Police said: ‘subsequently, we received additional written threats via email’

'It's very disappointing, disheartening and I am surprisingly unfazed because I've been dealing with hatred like this for years now with these programs, but it's never been like this before,' added the performer, real name Christopher Paolini

‘It’s very disappointing, disheartening and I am surprisingly unfazed because I’ve been dealing with hatred like this for years now with these programs, but it’s never been like this before,’ added the performer, real name Christopher Paolini

The listing for the 'Drag Queen Story Hour' on the library's events page called on attendees to 'Join Miss Amie Vanité as she spreads awareness and acceptance

The listing for the ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ on the library’s events page called on attendees to ‘Join Miss Amie Vanité as she spreads awareness and acceptance

The Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition noted ‘backlash’ in a Facebook post earlier this month and decried what it called ‘hateful comments about the LGBTQ+ community’ from public officials.

‘We want to be clear that drag story hours for children are NOT the same as adult drag performances,’ the group said. The performer, the group said, ‘is a professional who has done other story hours for children. 

‘She dresses up in fun, whimsical costumes, sings age-appropriate songs, and reads age-appropriate books.’

Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace said: ‘While we respect differences in opinion and the freedom of expression, the use of fear to manipulate and control our community will not be tolerated in Lancaster City. We will not be deterred from loving our neighbors — all of them.’



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