LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana library’s “Drag Queen Story Time” has been postponed indefinitely, as the college that planned to host the event Saturday afternoon has announced it cannot over concerns including safety, news outlets report.
Interest in the Lafayette Public Library’s event was so high that it had been moved to an auditorium at South Louisiana Community College last week. It was planned to have members of a University of Louisiana at Lafayette chapter of Delta Lambda Phi, a fraternity of “gay, bisexual and progressive men,” reading books to children between ages 3 and 6.
Libraries and book stores around the country have held similar programs featuring men in drag telling stories, and some drew protests.
The community college said in a statement that law enforcement told school officials they were aware of plans to demonstrate. It also said it has a limited capacity to manage the large crowds anticipated and at least one national organization intended to attend.
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The college said it cannot increase its limited security because of a state policy that says there can be no direct cost to the school system for such events. There is also a responsibility to students taking classes Saturday to provide a setting conducive to learning, which would be disrupted by the crowds, the college said.
Library officials said in a statement that they are not permanently canceling the program despite the need to secure a new host venue, as their administration and board believe in serving a diverse community. They also say many families have expressed support for the event.
Controversy over the story time has spurred since it was announced roughly two months ago. Public comments at a Lafayette City-Parish Council meeting in August were overwhelmingly supportive. Opponents appeared to outnumber supporters at a library board meeting last month.
The auditorium that had been set to hold the event can accommodate 300 people.