(WM) Drag Queen Story Hour Tampa Bay and its host venue Community Cafe are the latest targets of the anti-LGBTQ vlogger Elizabeth Johnston, also known as “The Activist Mommy.”
Drag Queen Story Hour Tampa Bay began in Sept. 2018. The majority of the monthly events—which exist to entertain and inspire children—have been held at the cafe in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District, affectionately referred to as “The Gayborhood.”
Johnston, went viral in 2017 for burning a copy of “Teen Vogue” after the magazine published a guide to anal sex. In June of this year, she targeted an LGBTQ-inclusive prom at a public library in Jacksonville and contributed to its cancellation. The event was rescheduled and held at a local church.
According to Johnston’s website, “The pulse behind all her activism and cultural commentary is her love for her family and her Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Utilizing social media, Johnston has called on “phone warriors” to target Community Cafe and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, a staunch LGBTQ ally, via a telephone campaign.
“St. Petersburg Florida thinks subjecting children to predatory behavior through an adult entertainment community is acceptable,” she wrote Aug. 1. “We need to rally together to protect our children’s innocent little minds from this confusion!”
“We’re helping kids see other types of people and it’s heartwarming that they’re so engaged,” Community Cafe owner Mandy Keyes shared with Watermark last month. “It’s so important that the next generation of kids is able to love and accept themselves and others who are different than they are.”
The cafe also addressed Johnston’s campaign via social media. “Even through this newest harassment, now by Cult Blogger Mommy Dearest, we will ALWAYS stand behind Drag Queen Story Hour,” they shared. “Kids seeing role models that are different than the norms is PIVOTAL to their emotional health growing up … Drag Queen Story Hour—and all forms of LGBTQ+ acceptance—literally SAVES LIVES.”
Watermark reached out to the mayor’s office, which confirmed receipt of complaints regarding Drag Queen Story Hour. The city’s official response to the concerns can be read below:
The City of St Petersburg is a City that prides itself on its diversity and inclusive practices. Hate has no home here. While we appreciate your correspondence and concern, we are proud of events like the Drag Queen Story Hour and those who participate because they showcase those qualities that make us stronger as a community, and we do not begrudge how people choose to spend their time.
The next Drag Queen Story Hour Tampa Bay will be held Aug. 10.