Protesters rally against planned far right demo at drag act in south London pub

That Girl is “shocked and saddened” about a far-right protest planned outside the event  (That Girl )
That Girl is “shocked and saddened” about a far-right protest planned outside the event (That Girl )

A counter demonstration has been organised in support of a drag act whose upcoming performance at a south London pub has sparked a far-right protest.

Drag queen That Girl is hosting a storytelling session over brunch at the Honor Oak pub in Forest Hill on Saturday from 10am.

A group of rightwing protesters plan to rally outside the venue in opposition to drag acts performing in front of children.

Far-right group Turning Point UK said children should not be “exposed” to adult performers.

In response, Stand Up To Racism’s southeast London branch has organised a counter demonstration to “reject the far right’s attempts to foster the pernicious myth that the events are... in some way sexual”.

“They are story-telling sessions for parents and children with no sexual content,” the group wrote on social media.

The action comes just days after protesters gathered outside Tate Britain during a drag queen storytelling event for children on February 12, hosted by Sab Samuel, whose drag name is Aida H Dee.

Lance O’Connor, 58, was arrested outside Tate Britain and has since appeared in court accused of using threatening words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

He is also accused of the assault by beating of an emergency worker and the obstruction of a custody officer the day after the protest.

Comedy duo Ellie Gibson and Helen Thorn, known as The Scummy Mummies, are attending the counter demonstration on Saturday to “support the right of performers to entertain”.

The pair have also performed at the Honor Oak pub.

Ms Gibson told the Standard: “As comedians, we support the right of performers to entertain, and the right of audiences to choose whether they want to attend.

“As mums, we are trying to raise our kids to understand that diversity is great, that we all deserve to be accepted for who we are, and that tolerance is a good trait. That’s why we’ll be showing our support for the drag queens.”

That Girl has confirmed the event on Saturday is going ahead with security on site.

The artist told the Standard she was “shocked and saddened” to learn about the far-right protest.

“Drag story time is an opportunity for children and families to enjoy family-friendly stories in an environment and with a reader that champions the principles of self-acceptance, diversity and inclusivity.

“We are fostering a love of stories. It’s entirely age appropriate. To suggest otherwise is misinformation.”

The performer said safeguarding of guests is a “top priority” and warned supporters to “not engage with any protesters”.

“They are not looking for a conversation and we will not dignify their bigotry with a response,” she wrote on Instagram.

Honor Oak Pub said it aims to be a “safe, warm and fun place for everyone”.

Staff said in a statement: “It has come to our attention that there may be some misunderstanding about the event, so we wanted to reassure you all that our popular Magical Storytelling event will be age appropriate and it isn’t anything different to what families will see and experience together in a theatre.

“This event is an opportunity for families and friends to come together and listen to a reading of a storybook and have fun.

“The most important thing for us is that everyone is safe and happy when they are here.”

Turning Point UK and Stand Up To Racism has been approached for comment.