Progressive church steps in to host drag queen story hour in Texas library after previous cancellation

Progressive church steps in to host drag queen story hour in Texas library after previous cancellation
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A Texas public library will hold a previously canceled drag queen story hour with the help of a nearby progressive church, though it will close the rest of the facility in anticipation of protests from anti-LGBTQ groups.

The Leander Public Library, about 30 miles north of Austin, had initially canceled the event, but a progressive church in the area, Open Cathedral, stepped in to host the event on Saturday by renting a conference room in the library, according to The Washington Post. The rest of the library facility will be closed. 

The city said in its web site that the use of the library conference room "does not constitute a City of Leander endorsement of viewpoints expressed by participants in the rental agreement, and rental requests are honored on a first come, first-served basis." 

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The library will also have designated areas to "allow for peaceful assembly outdoors," according to the city announcement. 

The Texas chapter of Mass Resistance, a self described "pro-family activist organization," has planned a protest of the event, according to the Post. A Facebook event scheduled for the same time as the story hour asks the public to join to "stand for children's innocence." 

Mass Resistance is labeled as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

Open Cathedral officials were not immediately available for comment from The Hill, but Minister Ryan Hart told the Post the event was more popular than he anticipated, with 2,000 people flooding the website to express interest. He expects about 150 people to attend Saturday's story hour. 

“It’s about a community that’s looking to say out loud that we love our kids,” Hart told the newspaper.

“It’s about a community that has more diversity than politicians realize. And it’s about a world that’s changing and people who want to be more loving than people saying, ‘Be quiet and sit down.’ ... We’re honored to be called into the middle of that," he said. 

The event also has support from a liberal group, ATX Resistance Action, the Post reported. The group has a kid-friendly, counterprotest planned at the time of the event to show support.