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Protestors target Wortley Pride event, police step in as tensions rise

The second annual Wortley Pride festival was held on Saturday on the green in the village, drawing hundreds to take part in LGBTQ friendly activities.

But things started to take a turn once protestors showed up, outraged against Drag Queen Storytime taking place.

“They believe that drag queens are hurting kids and no they are not,” said Clover, a counter-protestor. “It’s 2023 and I think people should be able to love and be who they are and not have to deal with this,” she said.

Drag Queen Storytime has been a topic of controversy, as protestors claimed it takes away “children’s innocence.”

Signs at the protest read “Quit grooming our children,” and “If you see this flag call the police.”

After several altercations between LGBTQ community supporters and protestors, London police had to step in and separate several people.

Meanwhile, advocates, many of whom counter-protested, said Drag Queen Storytime involves drag queens reading stories about self-love and acceptance to children.

Drag Queen Storytime took place on Saturday at the Wortley Pride festival in London, Ont. on Saturday, June 10, 2023. (Jenn Basa/CTV News London)

“It’s very frustrating. We should be over this by now guys, c’mon. If you’re not interested in drag story time, don’t get involved,” said Taylor who came to the event to peacefully protest.

A large police presence was seen around the park, as many loud and angry altercations ensued.

“The security and the safety of everybody, that’s the purpose of us being here,” said Const. Matthew Dawson with London police. “We just want to make sure everybody can come and enjoy themselves."

Patti Dalton, president of the London District Labour Council said after seeing a rise in hate towards LGBTQ+ members, the labour movement is taking steps to fight it.

“We put a call out for people to join us here and we are very happy that we are overwhelming the hate group with our numbers and positive trans and pride messages,” Dalton said.

“We are making sure that this is a celebratory and safe event because this is to celebrate pride.”

Earlier this week, fake flyers were circulating pointing to the story time being inappropriate for children. However, Wortley Pride members say it is a family-friendly event.

To protect the drag queen story time from further disruption people formed a human chain around the stage while children sat on the grass and listened.

Galaxy Rose, Wortley Pride vice president was part of Drag Queen story time on Saturday.

“Obviously we have a bit of noise in the background but we can’t even hear them from over here,” they said. “The people that matter everyone who needs to be here is here and are enjoying the festivities.”

Despite the chaos that took place in the corner of the park, many people who showed up to the pride event still agreed that their message remains the same, that the community should spread love and not hate. Top Stories

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