Leeds Libraries cancels Drag Queen Story Hour after complaints

Leeds Libraries has cancelled a Drag Queen Story Hour for children on its Facebook page after complaints.

The event had been planned for Monday but was instead moved to the Facebook page of Drag Queen Story Hour UK, an organisation that partners with libraries to send drag queens to read stories to children. 

The story hour had been billed as an event suitable for children aged two and up, but critics expressed concern over the age appropriateness and safeguarding.

Leeds City Council had also been promoting the event on its Facebook page to parents "looking for a unique story hour for your little one". 

"It's interactive, colourful, and has the potential to influence a lifetime of positive development – one page at a time," Leeds City Council said of the event. 

In an update to its Facebook page, Leeds Libraries confirmed the event had been cancelled.

"Due to unforeseen circumstances our Drag Queen Story time event scheduled for Monday has been cancelled.  We apologise for any inconvenience caused," the update read.

The cancellation came after Cllr Sarah Field reportedly spearheaded opposition to the children's event. 

The announcement was welcomed on Facebook, with many people expressing their thanks to Leeds Libraries for listening to their concerns. 

"Thank you Leeds Libraries. Safeguarding of children, all children, should be the concern of everyone. It is obvious some people like drag and have no objection to their children watching it," said one Facebook user.

"However, for all children's sake it important for a public venue to err on the side of caution. You have shown you are willing to consider the safeguarding of children in Leeds." 

"Thank you for considering the inappropriateness of this kind of entertainment for children," wrote another.

Libraries in Leeds have been closed due to coronavirus but the Leeds Libraries Facebook page has been broadcasting story hours online for children during the lockdown.