Ohio public library cancels LGBTQ Pride week event amid pushback from GOP House Speaker

A public library in Ohio canceled an LGBTQ event for teenagers during Pride week after the state’s Republican House Speaker publicly demanded it be stopped.

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R) on Twitter Friday posted a screenshot of a letter he sent to the Ohio Library Council writing that “libraries should not be a resource for teenage boys to learn how to dress in drag. I demand it stop now!!!”

ADVERTISEMENT

The Licking County Library in Newark, Ohio, had been planning an LGBTQ event geared towards teenagers that featured a drag queen makeup tutorial and a safe-sex program, among other events, according to the Newark Advocate.

Householder asserted in his letter that the “joke is apparently on the taxpayers, who fund our libraries. This is a stunningly bizarre breach of the public trust. And it must stop."

The event was set to take place on June 7 at the library after normal business hours. Newark is having its second Pride festival the following day.

"Our libraries are an incubator for thought and ideas, for debate and discussion,” Householder wrote in his letter to the  On this point, we can all agree," Householder, who represents parts of Licking County, wrote to the library asking that the event be canceled. "But I can also assure you the taxpayers aren't interested in seeing their hard-earned dollars being used to teach teenage boys how to become drag queens. I expect this to end immediately."

The news outlet reports the Newark Ohio Pride Coalition cited “pressure from state-wide elected officials” in deciding to cancel the event.

Licking County Library Director Babette Wofter said, contrary to Householder’s assertion, that the event was funded by the local Pride Coalition and not taxpayers.

The Newark Ohio Pride Coalition will instead hold the program at another yet to be determined location.

The report in Newark comes just days after another nearby public library had to cancel a one-day "Drag 101" class for teens after receiving a number of "veiled threats.”