Tight dresses, rhinestones, fishnets and six-inch-heels. Stage makeup, costume jewelry, and tight wigs. No, this is not a sneak peak backstage at a beauty contest, this is the garb of grown men in public libraries nationwide with the goal of reading stories to your young children hoping to do their part in normalizing the abnormal.
In libraries across the country, drag queens are now reading stories about “gender fluidity” to children with the aim to be “positive and unabashedly queer role models,” an idea conjured up by Michelle Tea, a writer in San Francisco in 2015, AP reports.
This has been going on for years in libraries located in larger cities like New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans, but for smaller communities like Columbus, Georgia and Lafayette, Louisiana, the programs have sparked protests from religious and conservative groups.
President of the local public library board in Lafayette, Louisiana, resigned amid pushback against the plans to hold “Drag Queen Story Hour,” with the mayor, Joel Robideaux indicating he may seek to cancel the October 6th program all together, according to AP.
A group by the name of Common Sense Campaign Tea Party was reported by AP to have called for a protest of an event later this month in Mobile, Alabama where a drag queen by the name of Khloe Kash (Wade Brasfield), is scheduled to visit and read books to children ages 3-8 that include 1992 “The Rainbow Fish,” about the value of sharing and “Stella Brings the Family,” which is about a little girl that’s not sure how she’s supposed to handle Mother’s Day, since she has two fathers.
*As of publication, the Common Sense Campaign Tea Party Facebook Page has been deleted: https://www.facebook.com/commonsensecampaign.org/
One drag queen from New York, Jonathan Hamilt who performs as his drag alter-ego, Ona Louise at Drag Queen Story Hours and other charity events told The Associated Press that there are over 40 Drag Queen Story Hour chapters nationwide. “You never know how the community is going to react to the programing,” Hamilt said. “It’s kind of a toss-up.”
Those who oppose of the Drag Queen Story Hour in Mobile, AL, were able to express their concerns last Monday at the Mobile County Commission describing the event as “the opening salvo in a clearly defined cultural war” and part of a “national agenda and a national plan to indoctrinate children,” according to AL.com.
A smaller crowd of around 50 opponents gathered for the Mobile City Council meeting on Tuesday, expressing their opposition to the event being held at the public library, but ultimately agreeing that the event at the library was indeed protected by the First Amendment.
Rev. Fred Wolfe, who spoke to the County Commission on Monday, was the first to address the Mobile City Council on Tuesday saying the matter was “heavy on the heart of many, many Mobilians.” He pressed that holding this type of event in a library was wrong since the setting lent it credibility. Rev. Wolfe said, “they do have an agenda. It’s a nationwide agenda. And it is to say the alternate lifestyle, LGBTQ, is an acceptable lifestyle and that we need to approve it and we need to be for it and not be against it. Well, we cannot do that. The Bible teaches clearly that sex outside of marriage, sex outside the union of a man and woman in the covenant of marriage, is a sin.”
FULL MOBILE, AL CITY COUNCIL MEETING TUE AUG 28TH, 2018:
A woman who identified herself as “a mother, a sister and a wife,” Lisa Strong, said she had been “greatly disturbed and saddened” finding out that the event was scheduled to be held at the library. She said her motivation for opposing the event was “not a battle of hatred, it’s not a battle of small-mindedness, it’s just time to take a stand for God.”
The executive director of the Mobile Public Library system, Scott Kinney having acknowledged that it was “a very difficult issue” for many present, and that he respected those who came out to show their opposition, but that the matter came down to the meeting rooms. The MPL’s policy for meeting rooms in the public institution stresses maximum availability to the public, with minimal restrictions on who can book a meeting room.
Kinney pointed to the fact that the meeting rooms at MPL had been used by faith-based groups in the past, including the first few months of meetings of a new church being held in their meeting rooms before the church found a permanent location. Kinney stressed that the event is presented by a group separate from the library itself and not funded by the library whatsoever–and fell within the rules for using the meeting space.
“I know that’s tough for this group to hear and I do appreciate your concerns,” Kinney said.
Councilman John Williams asked if the council had any legal right to close a facility or to deny access in such circumstances, to which Council Attorney Wanda Cochran said it did not.
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