The mayor of Apex has announced that the “Drag Queen Story Hour” — a controversial event featuring men in (often-skimpy) women’s clothing reading stories to children — has been eliminated from the schedule at the town’s June 11 Pride Festival. But Apex Pride, who helped plan the event, claims the reading will proceed, but from stage during a larger drag performance.

Mayor Jacques Gilbert posted the following statement on his Twitter account announcing the decision to cancel the Drag Queen Story Hour. 

A popular conservative Twitter account, LibsofTickTock, shared the decision and took some credit for the cancellation. Matt Walsh of the Daily Wire, who has recently released a documentary critical of the growing transgender movement, responded by saying, “Great work. Getting results as always.”

Many local comments expressed relief that the activity was canceled. But not everyone was happy with the decision. 

Apex Pride initially claimed “Members of both Apex Pride and TAFC have received threats from a band of conservatives who are ill-informed and vehemently against Drag Story Hour.” But they edited the post later to say, “Apex Pride has not received any credible threats. However, we’re working closely with APD who will have a strong presence at our Festival and ensure the safety of all in attendance.”

But Apex Pride then made some news in its statement by adding, “To say that we’re disappointed at this change is an understatement. However, we WILL be hosting drag performances on stage as scheduled, WITH a Drag Story Hour program included.”

It’s unlikely that the story reading being done on stage as part of the drag performances will relieve concerns of people who petitioned the mayor. 

The schedule as listed on the town of Apex’s website lists two time slots for “drag performers from the ‘House of Coxx.’” The House of Coxx is a Durham-based drag organization founded by Justin Clapp, who goes by the stage name of Vivica C. Coxx, an apparent raunchy riff off the actress Vivica A. Fox’s name. The promotional flyer for the event features Clapp as “Vivica.”

The House of Coxx generally holds adult drag events late at night with men dressed in leather, women’s clothing, and underwear.

In an interview with Indy Week, Clapp discussed bringing these shows now to younger audiences, saying it helps with acceptance and to reduce bullying. 

“It was just so much fun — the kids were laughing and giggling, but this family came up to me at the end of the show, because they wanted their child to have a hug from me,” Clapp said of one child-focused drag event. “The child said ‘yes,’ and we gave each other a hug. Well, I later got a message from the family that their child, who was assigned male at birth, found out it was OK for boys to wear skirts, and that boy has been wearing a skirt.”

Clapp has also brought “House of Coxx” drag performances to Durham middle school students at a public charter school in his campaign against bullying, work that was featured by televison show “The View,” CNN, and others.