Drag Queen book reading for children hit by protesters shouting abuse

·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
Sab Samuel runs Story Hour UK as drag character Aida H Dee. (Drag Queen Story Hour UK)
Sab Samuel runs Story Hour UK as drag character Aida H Dee. (Drag Queen Story Hour UK)

A drag queen book reading for children descended into chaos for the second time in a week after protesters and supporters clashed outside the library where it was due to be held.

Sab Samuel, 27, who runs Story Hour UK as drag character Aida H Dee, was due to read at 11am at Henleaze Library in Bristol on Thursday.

But protesters arrived with the intention of putting Aida under citizen's arrest before clashing with a group of supporters who had also turned up at the library.

Samuel says Aida is meant to be a positive LGTB+ role model and that Story Hour is designed to "engage your child's creativity" with a "positive experience".

The group of around 15 protesters falsely claimed that Aida is "illegally grooming children”.

Protestors and supporters clashed outside a scheduled book reading by drag queen Aida H Dee. (SWNS)
Protestors and supporters clashed outside a scheduled book reading by drag queen Aida H Dee. (SWNS)
Aida H Dee was due to read to kids at 11am at Henleaze Library in Bristol. (SWNS)
Aida H Dee was due to read to kids at 11am at Henleaze Library in Bristol. (SWNS)

The protest group shouted chants and carried inflammatory and abusive signs that read: "Stop grooming kids", "Wake up this is child abuse" and "Leave the kids alone".

A spokesperson from the group at the scene claimed: "If you have to normalise something that is not normal – it is not normal! No-one under the age of 11 needs to know explicit facts about sex and drag queens."

One parent at the library had hoped to attend the storytelling event with her 10-month-old toddler.

She attended one of the events six weeks ago in Bristol, which she said was "pleasant" and "lovely".

She said: "Ada is an author and I can assure you none of the content in the stories are sexualised. They are light-hearted and entertaining.

Protestors arrived with the intention of putting drag queen Aida H Dee under citizen's arrest. (SWNS)
Protestors arrived with the intention of putting drag queen Aida H Dee under citizen's arrest. (SWNS)

"I am annoyed and all the parents here today are annoyed.”

The event was one of six scheduled shows across the city in the next two days but it is unclear if the others will go ahead.

Story Hour events have been running across the country for three to 11-year-old children at libraries.

On Monday, police had to be called after Aida's Story Hour at Reading Library was also targeted by protesters, with two people storming the venue.

Samuel tweeted in response: "Please don’t let the stupid protesters stop you from attending the rest of the events across the country. I promise you that we are more than prepared for these stupid people and I can assure you my stories will be just as fabulous.”

The Drag Queen Story Hour website states it aims to "engage your child's creativity and love for reading stories by giving them a brand-new, positive experience, one page at a time... all the while, learning and communicating".

Samuel, who describes himself as living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism, performed as Aida at the British Museum earlier this summer at an event described as a "two-day family event exploring all things Feminine power".

Samuel has been subjected to abuse before.

Last June, he said he had received death threats for telling her stories to children when Leeds council cancelled the Story Hour event citing "a number of concerns".

He told Leeds Live at the time: “It was a small minority of people who weaponised homophobia and transphobia to get something cancelled because they wanted it to be.

“My details were published online and I did get death threats. I was on the phone to the police about it and I was being called a paedophile.

“I have moved house since then as well."

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