Dem lawmaker teams up with Planned Parenthood to host 'deceptive' drag story hour in Arizona Capitol


Democratic lawmakers in Arizona’s state legislature hosted a “Drag Story Hour” in partnership with Planned Parenthood on Tuesday, sparking backlash from their Republican colleagues who said the event was “deceptively” planned.

“Democrat Rep. Lorena Austin deliberately misled House leadership to reserve a conference room to host a drag story hour with Planned Parenthood,” House Speaker Ben Toma, a Republican, said in a statement. “Use of House facilities for radical activism to promote dangerously perverse ideology will not be tolerated while I am Speaker.”

Toma said Democrats have “lost the privilege” of reserving House meeting rooms “until trust can be restored.” The drag story hour took place in the Copper Basin Room in the House basement. 

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Drag story hour at the Arizona Capitol

Arizona lawmaker under fire for hosting drag story hour in Capitol. (Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A video, which a spokesperson from the state Senate told Fox News Digital was taken by an intern who stopped by at the event, shows a man in a sparkly suit jacket wearing pink and white makeup reading from the book “Queer and Fearless: Poems Celebrating the Lives of LGBTQ+ Heroes.

“When is it time to choose a new name? Why does someone become an activist? How does one begin?” the man can be heard saying in the video. 

Rep. Lorena Austin, a nonbinary Democrat lawmaker in the state House, organized the event with Planned Parenthood. Fox News Digital reached out for comment but did not hear back by press deadline from Austin or the abortion network.

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pride flag

Austin also helped plan a “LGBTQ+ Youth Day at the Capitol” on Wednesday. 

“As legislation continues to focus on queer youth, it is imperative these decision makers see and hear from the youth impacted by policies they pass. It’s also an opportunity for us to build community and uplift one another,” One-n-Ten, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group wrote in a post on Instagram. 

“Hope you can join Youth Day at the AZ Capitol 2024!”

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Woman standing in the back of a pickup truck holding a pride protest flag.

Woman protesting in favor of the LGBTQ movement. (Yffy Yossifor/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

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In a statement posted to X, Planned Parenthood Arizona said in response to Toma that it’s another example “of Speaker Toma showing how out of touch he is with the values of Arizonans & their support for the LGTBQ community.”

At Planned Parenthood Arizona, we are proud to offer gender-affirming care services and provide essential health care to everyone,” the group said. “We thank Rep. Lorena Austin for being a staunch ally and for their continued support in our fight for reproductive freedom. We will be sure to invite Speaker Toma to the next Drag Story Hour.”

State Sen. John Kavanaugh told Fox News Digital that it was the first time anything like the drag event had happened at the Capitol.

“And it wouldn’t have happened had they been truthful and said they wanted to have a drag queen story hour,” he said. “I mean, that in and of itself, is so inflammatory and controversial, which is probably why they didn’t mention that. So, it was the fact that they were deceptive in the explanation.”





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