MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — More than 100 people filled the sidewalk in front of the Morgantown Public Library Saturday morning for the Drag Queen Storytime Support Rally.
The Drag Queen Storytime event was cancelled due to threats of disruption, violence and physical harm to the volunteer reader, according to library officials.
Third Ward councilman Zack Cruze attended the event and expressed disappointment that protests from groups outside Morgantown and Morgantown/Monongalia County residents made participants feel unsafe.
“Anyone that wants to volunteer can come and read,” Cruze said. “Morgantown is a very inclusive community, so it really isn’t fair to say that we’re inclusive, to say we have a non-discrimination policy and then say no we don’t want you to read at the library.”
Cruze told WAJR Radio News the rally had been planned well in advance of the cancellation.
“There was already a plan to have a rally and help people get into the library,” Cruze said. “Because the protesters were threatening violence and saying they were going to bring pepper spray and bullhorns.”
Cruze said it would very difficult to establish dialog with those opposed to the event.
“Some of these individuals have been threatening bodily harm towards members of the community,” Cruze said. “They’re saying the LGBT community is disgusting and sick, it’s difficult to sit down with someone when you know that just your existence makes them want to cause to harm you.”
Cruze said those for and against all pay taxes. .
“Every member of our community is a taxpayer, the LGBT community, we pay taxes just like everyone else,” Cruze said. “The event was even going to be held in the basement so that anyone coming to the library didn’t have to see it if they didn’t want to.”