‘Fully grown adult’ attempts to stop Aida H Dee children’s story time – but accidentally starts a 'rave'

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A protester attempting to disrupt a children’s event in Leeds City Centre at the weekend unwittingly started a rave.

The drag story hour event was held at Leeds Central Library on Saturday, and was set to feature drag queen Aida H Dee reading a storybook to a group of children and their carers.

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But a group of protesters, upset at the idea of someone in drag reading a story to children, had also turned up outside Leeds Library.

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Leeds City Council confirmed the fire alarm had been “maliciously activated” but, unperturbed, the group chose to enjoy a “pride rave” to the sound of the alarm instead.

Following the event, Aida tweeted: “Some fully grown adult gained access to the library and decided to smash the fire alarm at the start of the Drag Story Hour… So we had a pride rave and song in the library and then started the story hour 10 minutes later! Such fun!”

Some respondents to the tweet questioned why the building was not evacuated once the fire alarm was set off.

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “In preparation for this event at Leeds Central Library a detailed risk assessment was carried out including the possible malicious activation of the fire alarm by protestors. It was agreed that should there be an activation of the fire alarm, library staff would not go straight into normal evacuation mode but would allow the on-site team to determine how the alarm had been activated.

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Drag artist Aida H Dee tweets about the incident at Leeds Central Library.Drag artist Aida H Dee tweets about the incident at Leeds Central Library.
Drag artist Aida H Dee tweets about the incident at Leeds Central Library.

"If no heat sensors had been activated and there were no other signs of a possible fire, the agreed policy was for visitors to remain in the building following a radio check by staff.

“This is exactly what happened, the fire alarm was maliciously activated and no heat sensors triggered. Putting the plan agreed with health and safety colleagues into action, the children and families were able to remain safely inside. Had any of the heat sensors in the building been activated, a full evacuation would have taken place immediately.

"West Yorkshire Police were in contact with staff throughout the incident.”

According to its website, Drag Queen Story Hour UK provides “fun and interactive kids shows with amazing and talented drag performers”.

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Sab Samuel, who plays Ida, has been contacted for a comment.

A previous online storytime event, set to take place in 2020, had been postponed by Leeds City Council due to a backlash against it.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post at the time, Sab had described the initial reaction as a "kick in the face", adding: "I'm ecstatic at the response.

"This is the very reason why I started the enterprise Drag Queen Story Hour UK.

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"I don't think some people realise how important it is to teach others to accept those who are a little bit different, and I'm not just talking about trans people or LGBTQ+ but race, disability, age - everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

"The entire LGBTQ+ family in Leeds, and across the UK, has come out in support of this one story time.

"Love really does win over hate it seems."