Chula Vista’s Drag Queen Story Hour Went On In Spite Of Protests
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Credit: Image provided to KPBS via pool video
The Chula Vista Public Library Drag Queen Story Hour went on as planned Tuesday afternoon in spite of protests from local socially conservative organizations.
Drag Queen Story Hour was launched in San Francisco in 2015 and has since spread across the country, even to cities in conservative cities like Lincoln, Nebraska, and Juneau, Alaska. The events, according to the organization's leaders, are intended to celebrate learning and play while also teaching children about confidence and gender diversity.
The Chula Vista Library hosted the event with City Councilman Stephen Padilla at the library's Civic Center Branch. The event has drawn both support and consternation from local organizations.
"I think that material drag queens its essentially adult entertainment, which I don't think belongs in a setting that's designed for children," said Michael McCabe, who protested the event Tuesday.
Supporters also showed up Tuesday.
"I felt like I needed to come out here and support my friends and my family all of these people who deserve to live without shame I'm here for them," Madison Beck said.
San Diego MassResistance, a local chapter of the national conservative activist group, held a news conference Aug. 29 to demand the event's cancellation. The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed certain chapters of the organization, though not San Diego's, as anti-LGBTQ hate groups, a classification MassResistance vehemently denies.
"This program needs to be shut down before it even starts," said Arthur Schaper, the director of California's state chapter of MassResistance. "Having illicit, sexually explicit adult entertainers reading to children, billing them as heroes and role models, is just unthinkable and unconscionable."
After the news conference, the local interfaith coalition DevOUT backed Drag Queen Story Hour and the city of Chula Vista by writing and signing onto a letter of support.
"Our commitment to our communities is to create inclusive environments that honor the wholeness of all people," said
The Rev. Tania Marquez of Unitarian Universalists of the South Bay, part of DevOUT. "I commend the work of the city of Chula Vista library for their commitment to create inclusive and LGBTQ+ affirming programming."
Drag Queen Story Hour began at 4 p.m. at the Civic Center Branch. There was a heavy police presence in anticipation of the event but despite the differing viewpoints, things remained peaceful between both sides.
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