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Jacksonville church holds Pride Prom after library controversy

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nearly 100 LGBTQ teenagers attended Pride Prom on Friday at The Buckman Bridge Universalist Church after the Jacksonville Public Library's decision to cancel the event due to safety concerns.

Around 50 volunteers, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office officers, LGBT veterans, private security and more helped make sure the event ran smoothly. 

Dozens demonstrate over halted LGBTQ prom

Beatrice Palmer (BeBe Deluxe), the host of the Pride Prom event, said safety was never an issue. 

"There were absolutely no causes for concern and no religious hate group protestors in attendance," Palmer said. 

The Pride Prom event was all about friendship, positivity and love. 

"The inside was so positive and electric," Palmer said. "Everyone was smiling. Lots of moms were crying happy tears. There were kids dancing, laughing and socializing as if nothing had even happened that week." 

The church featured a dance hall, two rooms for parents and a quiet room for kids who wanted to experience the prom but not in a loud atmosphere. 

Palmer called the event a success despite the initial cancellation of the event.

"Prom was a success. The kids were dancing and laughing and making new friends. Heard from proud moms that some of the youth had never met another gay person their age before and this event helped them make friends."

Tim Rogers, director of the Jacksonville Public Library, told News4Jax on Wednesday that he canceled the sold-out event because there were questions about there being enough safety and security.

"I made the call with the information I had at the time, and that information was not anything that was an imminent threat," Rogers said. "It was about the emotional and physical safety of the kids that they were inviting to this teen program, and that's all it was."

About the Author:

Carianne Luter is a social media producer for News4Jax and has worked at Channel 4 since December 2015. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a degree in communications.