Leander Family Pride Festival and Story Time draws over 200 demonstrators

On Saturday, over 200 people demonstrated outside of a “Family Pride Festival and Story Time” event held at the Leander Public Library. 

The event was initially slated as “Drag Queen Story Time,” hosted by the public library. 

After receiving backlash and in the “interest of safety,” the library dropped the event. 

“We understood there were some concerns about how the event was placed on the agenda. How people were screened, how staff resources were gonna deal with that. So, we decided to cancel,” Leander public information officer Mike Neu said. 

Neu says the library has routinely held events with guests who are not screened. Now he says they’re reviewing their policies. 

“I’m here in support of an event that was canceled due to the cowardice of a few city officials.” said Clara Short. 

The event was picked up by the “Church of the Open Cathedral,” who still hosted it inside a rented room in the library. In a Facebook post, the church said a drag queen scheduled to attend could not make it, so it was officially renamed “Family Pride Festival and Story Time,” but that did not hamper the controversy. 

“I don’t know if there’s much material difference between what was going to happen and what’s happening now,” Cedar Park resident Brandon Clay said.

Clay said he felt it was important to attend the event to support his “biblical view that marriage is between a man and a woman.” 

“It seems like the other side is going against that norm, a biblical norm, and they’re actually pushing children to start accepting the deviant behavior.” he said. 

Leander resident Angela Williams echoed Clay. 

“I just want kids to be kids. I don’t want kids to have sexual indoctrination,” she said. 

Miss Kitty Litter ATX countered claims of “indoctrination.” 

“We have no interest in indoctrinating children.” she said. “Just kind of read and share a message of inclusivity and kindness and I don’t think those are terrible messages to put out there.” 

Of all the messages shared Saturday afternoon, Libby Onks, 14, who attended the event with her mother and brother Travis, 6, says she took away the message "It's okay to be who you are."

“It teaches people and people my age it’s okay to be who you want to be," Onks said. "It’s okay to be who you are and what you like.” 

Story Time was a ticketed event that sold out in advance. 

Leander had a large police presence at the event and fire, park, and media personnel were on hand as well.