'Wrong decision.' Some in Apex outraged after Drag Queen Story Hour canceled at Pride Fest

Akilah Davis Image
Monday, June 6, 2022
Some outraged after Drag Queen Story Hour canceled at Apex Pride Fest
After word spread that Drag Queen Story Hour was nixed from the Apex Pride Festival, it's been the talk of the town, one mom said.

APEX, N.C. (WTVD) -- When Ellen Dershowitz first got wind of this controversy she was furious. It's been the talk of the town.

"There are a group of people that got very upset that we were going to allow drag queens to sit down and read stories to our kids and that's how it all got started," said Dershowitz. "I felt like we were putting our kids back in the closet."

She is a committee member for Apex Pride who is now reassuring all vendors people will still turnout.

Both she and Rick Conard have kids who are members of the LGBTQ community. His wife is a founding member of Apex pride.

"I think it's a really bad decision. It's the wrong decision. I don't think it was really thought out. I don't think they understood what the reaction would be from the LGBTQ community and their allies," said Conard.

Town council member Terry Mahaffey created a citizen survey after receiving 70 emails from residents both for and against. As of Monday afternoon, nearly 500 people had responded. In the comments section, half of those who responded identify as part of the LGBTQ community and say they are now less likely to attend the Apex Pride Fest.

Mayor Jacques Gilbert released the following statement of Facebook:

It continues to be my goal to ensure that all voices in our community are represented.
I have received a variety of feedback regarding the Drag Queen Story Hour at the upcoming

Apex Pride Festival. Given that this part of the event was not originally
presented when the event was proposed, I met with representatives from the organization hosting the event, the Apex Festival Commission, and presented the feedback I have received from citizens. Today I was notified that the Apex Festival Commission
has taken the feedback into careful consideration and has decided to remove the Drag Queen Story Hour from the event. Any further questions or concerns regarding the Pride
Festival activities can be forwarded to apexfestivalcommission@qmail.com

Organizers say that is not true.

"It was always part of the initial plan," said Dershowitz. "Do we have to fight this every year? Or are we going to stand up and say enough? This is not hurting anybody."