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Pride prom rescued by church after conservative blogger backlash

Pride prom rescued by church after conservative blogger backlash

Prom hosts-to-be Buckman Bridge Unitarian Universalist Church at River City Pride 2016 | Picture: Facebook

When the Storybook Pride Prom for Jacksonville, Florida’s LGBTI teens was cancelled due to a conservative blogger inciting backlash, the teens were distressed.

The Willowbranch Library originally organized the event. Teens aged between 14 and 18 were invited to come ‘in drag, whatever makes you feel free great. Be you!’

But after a conservative blogger with over 700,000 followers lashed out, the library cancelled the event that a local church then offered to host on 28 June.

What happened?

Over 100 teens planned to attend the queer prom. Organizers set the theme of dressing-up as their favorite book characters.

But the event caught the attention of blogger The Activist Mommy, otherwise called Elizabeth Johnston.

She encouraged her followers to call the library and complain. To ‘express your disgust that the perversion is taking place in a taxpayer funded library.’

Johnston frequently uses her Facebook page to promote anti-trans topics and campaigns.

As a result, the library cancelled the prom on 24 June. Citing a concern about a lack of ‘safety and security.’

A spokesman for the Library that the prom was intended to be ‘a fun night for teens who may not feel comfortable in other situations or other places, they may not feel comfortable at another prom.

‘We thought we would give them a nice little prom, where they could have a good time.’

Meanwhile, in a statement published on its Facebook page, the library said ‘the co-opting of the event’ for political purposes meant they are ‘not confident that it will be 100% prepared to provide a safe, secure environment.’

Moreover, Chris Bolvin, the library’s assistant director of community relations and marketing, told Gay Star News that the library is an organization dedicated to ‘diversity, inclusivity, and the safety of all who use our space.’

‘It was the right thing to do’

Fortunately, the Buckman Bridge Unitarian Universalist Church stepped in to hold the dance instead on the same night as the original event.

‘It was the right thing to do,’ Grace Repass, the church’s past president, said in a statement to The Washington Post.

‘The LGBTQIA+ youth in our community deserve to have their prom and we wanted to support them.’

Repass said the church’s board unanimously supported the decision. Furthermore, the event featured ‘Happy teens, grateful parents, and a lot of community support.’

‘We see our church as a safe as a safe place for people who are figuring out who they are.’

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