“Express your disgust that this perversion is taking place in a taxpayer funded library!”
A Florida library had to cancel an event which was open to LGBT youth after an angry protestor and self-titled "Activist Mommy," Elizabeth Johnston, spearheaded what turned out to be an effective phone campaign.
The Jacksonville Public Library wanted teens aged 14-18 to join in on their prom theme which asked them to "come dressed inspired by your favorite book character– casual, formal, or in drag – whatever makes you feel great. Be you!”
The event sold out but was canceled after the library feared they wouldn't be able to provide enough safety to partygoers following Johnston's harshly worded post.
“Express your disgust that this perversion is taking place in a taxpayer funded library!” she wrote on social media.
“For all the sensitive stomachs out there, I apologize for the graphic pictures," She added, referring to photos in her post of the drag queens who were set to attend. "I selected milder ones for you. If these perverts are going to come after children, I have to expose it! I know it ain’t pretty!"
Johnston's campaign resulted in the library receiving hundreds of phone calls in opposition to the Storybook Pride Prom which they ultimately decided to cancel.
Library officials broke the news about their decision this past Monday on Facebook:
"After careful and extensive deliberation, the library has decided to cancel the Storybook Pride Prom scheduled for Friday, June 28 at the Willowbranch Branch Library.
While the planning team did a remarkable job putting together a program that would have provided a great experience for our teen customers, the co-opting of the event by others who wish to use it for their own purposes has created a situation in which the library is not confident that it will be 100% prepared to provide a safe, secure environment for customers, staff, volunteers, contractors, protestors and active supporters, and most of all for the teens themselves.
We sincerely appreciate the multitude of expressions of support from the community who appreciated the library's intention to engage with teens in a new way, in a demonstration of the library as a place for learning and fun—a place where friends come together for conversation and something as simple as a dance without the labels and judgement that are too often a part of everyday life.
It is unfortunate that this event became associated with political statement and shows of activism, as those are not part of the library's mission in any way.
Jacksonville Public Library remains open to all and will continue to create programs and provide materials on all topics to enable everyone to grow and learn—children, teens and adults.
Thank you for your time and attention."