Hundreds gather to protect Drag Queen Story Hour from vile anti-LGBTQ+ protest

Crowds gather around the Oxford library where Aida H Dee's Drag Queen Story Hour took place.

LGBTQ+ activists had a drag queen’s back after her story hour session was targeted by protestors.

About 300 activists formed a “protective ring” around Aida H Dee’s event at Oxfordshire County Library on Tuesday (23 August), overwhelming the estimated 50 protesting it.

Aida H Dee has received constant abuse for her Drag Queen Story Hour UK tour, including violent threats sent to her home address and repeated harassment from right-wing mobs calling her a “paedophile”.

A group of 25 anti-LGBTQ+ protesters was seen storming her stop at Reading Central Library on 25 July calling attendees “groomers” and “nonces”.

Tuesday’s event attracted around 50 protesters who gathered outside the venue, with some holding signs such as “stop sexualising our children” and “leave the kids alone”.

Pro-LGBTQ+ activists blocked the entrance to the library, which had been closed to the public during the show, in an effort to prevent the protesters from disrupting the event taking place inside.

Police officers at the scene created a barrier between the activists and the protesters to keep them separate, according to the Thames Valley Police, however two arrests were made.

The story hour reportedly had one of the highest attendances of a story hour spot in a UK library, according to the tour’s Twitter page, which also shared an image of Aida H Dee surrounded by gleeful attendees.

According to the BBC, the protests were planned on social media by various groups that originally began as anti-vaccine forums, switching post-lockdown to claiming that drag queens are “paedophiles” and “groomers”.

One group, named Alpha Men Assemble, believes it has the right to opt out of laws to which it does not consent. Other protestors reportedly came from groups like the Independent Nationalist Network, which contains former members of the BNP and Patriotic Alternative.

But the vastly more substantial pro-LGBTQ+ group was big enough to form a protective ring around the building. One of which, 74-year-old Lilian Hunt, said she had joined the counter-protests to form a “protective ring” around the library because “pantomime is a tradition we’ve had for a long time”. She added: “Is that going to be next, because we have panto dames?”

A spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council said that the event was age-appropriate, adding it “was confident that this is appropriate and well-suited for the advertised age groups of 3-8 years old under parental guidance”.

“However, we’re aware that other areas have encountered some issues related to people unhappy about the event,” the statement continued. “Therefore, to ensure the safety of the performer, and the young children attending, there will be limited access to the events for those with advance tickets.”

Aida H Dee told PinkNews in July that she has received hate “day after day”.

“What I would say is that these people are the drive behind what I do,” Aida H Dee said. “They think I’m sexualising children – [they] have used the words sex and gender more than I ever have in my story hours. So if anyone is sexualising children, it’s them.”