Originally scheduled for Wednesday, June 5 at the Delaware County Library’s Orange Branch, the class was moved to Secret Identity Comics and funded by an anonymous donor. It took place on the same day and time as originally planned.
Kyle Gale, who performs on-stage as “Selena T. West,” appeared in full costume as he was greeted by dozens of supporters. There were no signs of protesters, despite the fact that the library canceled the event on the grounds that it had received “threats.”
There was a significant law enforcement presence nearby, and several Delaware City Police cars were seen at Frank B. Willis Intermediate School, less than a block from the event. Additional officers rode by the crowd multiple times on bicycles.
Delaware City Police Sergeant Adam Willauer told The Ohio Star there was no trouble or protesters present.
“No one has filed any reports about threats,” he said. “We were there because whenever a large crowd is expected, we want to be present for safety.”
Speaking on camera with WCMH reporters, Gayle responded to criticisms surrounding the initial plan to host the event at a taxpayer-funded facility.
“When you say and demonize gay people, or drag queens or trans individuals under the guise of being an advocate for children, then you’re letting people know, or you’re telling people that we are a danger to children,” he said. “So, those people, some of them who aren’t probably all there in the head, might think they need to protect children from us, because you’ve demonized gay people, drag queens and trans individuals.”
A local resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said that Gayle’s supporters “don’t understand why people are concerned.”
“It has nothing to do with fear; it has everything to do with encouraging confusion in our children,” the resident said, noting that he attended the Delaware County Library’s May 21 board meeting on the event.
“The most impactful testimony came from a local guy who talked about being molested as a child. He said he knows from experience that many people in the LGBT community have also been molested and that’s what caused him to speak out,” he said.
David Arthur, a man who lived as a transgender woman for 30 years and returned to his birth gender, told The Ohio Star that “ninety-five percent of the people I talk to have a history of being sexually abused as children.”
“Suicide. Molestation. A life doomed and littered with drugs, alcohol, prostitution and even murder. It was a correctional officer that reached me, with truth, in love,” Arthur shares in his testimony on his website.
Arthur currently runs a ministry dedicated to helping the LGBT community.
“Thirty plus years of darkness and death, I now live in Light and Life,” he says on his website. “One word: Truth. GOD pursued me. GOD chose me, for such a time as this…there is nothing more joyful than having GOD stop you in your tracks and give you exactly what you’ve been asking for and seeking your entire life!”
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Beth Lear is a reporter at The Ohio Star. Follow Beth on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.