Drag queen's story time called off amid protest at library

Protestors outside North Walsham Library after a story time with Titania Trust (inset) was postponed.

Protestors outside North Walsham Library after a story time with Titania Trust (inset) was postponed - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Protestors have forced a story time event featuring drag queen 'Auntie' Titania Trust at North Walsham Library to be called off.

The event would have seen the Norwich-based performer read stories to children on Tuesday afternoon (August 2) but about 15 protestors gathered outside the library demanding Titania be stopped. 

Joseph Ballard, director of the theatre group New Stages, which organised the event, said he was disappointed, but "fired up" by the reaction. 

Mr Ballard said: "I got a call just before the event from the library manger saying someone at the top of the library service had cancelled it, following advice.

"The safety of the attendants was the concern."

Mr Ballard said the Norwich Walsham story time and another one planned for Cromer Library on August 9 had been postponed to a later date.

"If anything, this shows why events like this are needed," Mr Ballard said. "The whole point is to see that younger generations grow up being accepting and don't turn into people who make threats of violence at children's events.

"If anything, this spurs me on and shows why we need to celebrate inclusivity and diversity, and present good role models to children."

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Among the protestors was Chris Mitchell, 32 and from Caistor. Although he is not a parent himself, Mr Mitchell said he thought drag queens reading stories to children was wrong. 

He said: "It's not acceptable to be teaching our children.

"We're taxpayers and this is a public library, if parents really want to take their children to see something like this, they should fund it themselves. 

"We should let kids be kids. If boys want to dress up as women when they're older then fair enough, but they should not be exposed to stuff like this at such a young age."

North Walsham Library.

North Walsham Library - Credit: MARK BULLIMORE

Mr Mitchell said he was "absolutely delighted" the story time had been called off. 

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for communities and partnerships, said: “We were very disappointed to have to postpone today’s event.

"Titania Trust has delivered story time events at other locations, including the Millennium Library in Norwich, and always received a warm welcome and positive responses from children and families alike.

"However we always put the safety and wellbeing of our service users first and sadly the acts of a small number of people have forced us to postpone on this occasion."