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After discovering threats of violence on the social media site Telegram, the LGBT+ Center Orlando canceled its upcoming drag queen storytime.

Performer Bridgette Galore was scheduled to read to children at the center during a Halloween event on Oct. 29.

“We take these threats very seriously and would not want to endanger or expose children and their parents and guardians to bigotry and hate,” the center wrote on Facebook. “We have the support of so many in our community including law enforcement, but as much as we would like to continue this fun-loving, innocent event, we feel that the safety of our community is our number one concern.”

According to Watermark Online, messages from the National Socialist Movement were discovered on the social media site Telegram. Members planned to protest the event. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the group as the largest neo-Nazi group in the 2000s, “notable for its violent anti-semitic rhetoric, its racist views and its policy allowing members of other racist groups to join NSM while remaining members of other groups.”

Because the event involves children, the center felt it was best to cancel the event for safety reasons. Disappointed supporters suggested making the event virtual to continue the fun.

“Thank you for your understanding that we live in challenging times right now, and we don’t want to expose or endanger innocent children to hate, bigotry or violence,” the center said on Facebook.

As more anti-LGBT legislation is being passed, drag queens, the community at large and allies have been accused of “indoctrinating children.” Conservatives went after the drag queens at The Palace in South Beach when a video surfaced of two children at a show with their parents. Gov. Ron DeSantis went so far as to propose that parents be investigated by child protective services if they bring their children to the shows, NBC6 reports, following a move in Texas to ban children from the shows altogether.

On Twitter, FL Sen. Shevrin Jones wrote that “This is the FL that @GovRonDeSantis has created, one where people are afraid to FREELY be themselves, and one where condemning racism, antisemitism, LGBTQ violence is encouraged by his [@RonDeSantisFL] silence. This type of violence will only get worse.”

FL Rep. Anna V. Eskamani stood up for the center, tweeting that “If you’re outraged by this then please speak up against the rise of homophobia, transphobia, fascism and go VOTE.”


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