HUNDREDS of allies stood together in a show of solidarity with Colchester’s LGBTQ+ community after anti-equality demonstrators threatened to disrupt a drag event.

Colchester Library, in Trinity Street, successfully hosted its Drag Storytime on Saturday morning as part of a programme of events celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month.

The family-friendly event, part of a month-long festival called Kaleidoscope, was led by Essex-based drag artist An Nemia, who read books to children and parents.

On the eve of the show, however, rumours of an anti-LGBTQ+ protest being staged outside the venue by people opposed to the event started to circulate online.


In a bid to combat any disturbances, organisations such as Colchester Pride issued a calls-to-arms and before long a counter-protest had been arranged.

The rallying cry resulted in more than 250 people, many of whom held aloft colourful messages of inclusivity, gathering at the library in a display of togetherness.

Samuel Biscoe, founder of East Anglia’s first gay and inclusive rugby team, Colchester Kings, attended the peaceful protest in the city centre.

He said: “There were about 250 people taking party in the counter-protest and the Drag Story Time happened without a problem.

“Our community was being targeted, again, because of fear and what individuals aren’t willing to understand.

“It’s important to me we stand up for our friends, family and community in times where we begin to face scrutiny so we can educate and drive change.


“The counter-protest was peaceful and respectful, displaying the power of joy and what it means to be a community of people.”

Sirena Hart, an established artist and drag performer, also attended the demonstration. 

"Our bright colours drowned out their misinformed and extremely disrespectful minds, said Sirena.

"Our solidarity shined bright and their blacks, greys and beiges simply didn’t.

"Above all the community did everything they could to make sure the families that wanted to enjoy drag could do so in peace. 

"The same way you wouldn’t let your children watch all movies, you wouldn’t let children watch all drag.

"Let families enjoy their desired art-forms in peace. Go and protest about the rise in electricity, not a drag story time."

Sam McLean also stood united with the vast number of equality campaigners who had gathered in support of the event and their community.

He added: “It was astonishing to see how quickly the LGBTQ+ community could organise itself, starving the anti-LGBTQ+ protest of oxygen.

“We have come a long way in LGBTQ+ rights but hate still lingers in corners of Britain and so the battle for acceptance continues.

“I am so proud of everyone who spent their time today on that campaign for love, with some even changing their weekend plans to be there.

"Love always triumphs over hate."