Library hits back at ‘ignorant bigotry’ after getting abuse for Drag Queen Story Time event
A library has hit back at people who attacked its Drag Queen Story Time event as “depraved”.
Broome County Public Library in Binghampton, New York, is one of a growing number of libraries to take part in the Drag Queen Story Time trend – where local drag queens are invited to come and read story books to children in order to promote literacy and storytelling.
The library had advertised the January 13 event online last week, only to receive a barrage of abuse.
One user wrote: “Kids should not be exposed to this. I bring my daughter here and she will ask why are guys dressing like girls. And way more questions that need to be answered at a young age that shouldn’t need to be answered.”
Another added: “This is not something our children need to be exposed to let alone have thrust upon them to figure out at story time. What exactly are they reading? This was a very poor choice for the public library system to promote. We need healthy role models for our kids, not confused ones.
“It IS serious for those of us who want to raise our children with healthy role models and who don’t want their local library trying to shove some agenda down our throats.”
A third commenter wrote: “This is SICK. It is the parents duty to protect their children from such depravity. I can’t believe our county is promoting such filth.”
After the barrage of abuse, the library posted a public response – tackling the people upset about the event.
It said: “Throughout their history, American public libraries have been on the front lines of the fight to dispel ignorance, intolerance, and bigotry.
“We are following in the footsteps of the greatest of public libraries, the New York Public Library, in holding an event of this nature and we are pleased to have received the positive feedback we have from families excited to attend the drag queen story time.
“Our library continues to broaden horizons and to celebrate the diversity of our culturally rich community here in the Southern Tier. We are committed to providing programming that appeals to diverse elements of our community.
“Libraries stand for values of freedom, intellect, openness, tolerance, and the opportunity to freely explore the entirety of the world in which we live.
“If any of our enrichment programs offend the sensibilities of some of our patrons, they are welcome to exercise their freedom to not participate.”
The response led to more anger from anti-LGBT activists.
One read: “”What other purpose would this event have other than to indoctrinate and desensitize the youngest citizens of our area?
“The push to rob children of their innocence and sexualize them at a younger and younger age is nothing new, but is becoming more blatant and vulgar.
“Shame on a library to call this an ‘enrichment program’ in an effort to normalize something that clearly does not belong paraded in front of small children.”
However, one brilliant reply said: “I’m a gun-toting straight, white, male Republican and even I have fun at a drag show.
“Anybody who thinks kids wouldn’t love this hasn’t been to one. And, I mean, Captain Kangaroo was, like, 6 degrees away from being a drag queen. And don’t lie. You all watch RuPaul.
“But, then, I’m not at all threatened by other peoples’ sexuality or gender preference, so…maybe that’s something you want to examine?
“I feel like the kids are going to have FAR less damage from this than some of the parents.”
PinkNews recently spoke to Thomas Canham, who set up Drag Queen Storytime in the UK after seeing the success a similar programme has had in the United States.
The idea behind Drag Queen Storytime is simple – local drag queens visit schools and libraries to read to children, providing a look at the diversity of the world along with the story of The Tiger Who Came to Tea.
But it’s also effective. So far, more than 2,000 children between the ages of three and 11 have benefited from the project.
Canham explained: “Reading is one of the most fundamental things we can teach our children.
“It’s extremely important that they learn and know how to read and learn to appreciate the written word.
“Considering the amount of libraries that are closing down all across the country, and the declining educational attainment, I believe now more than ever we should be pushing to increase the reading ability of our youths.”
Last year brought a flood of negative media attention to the project, with several news outlets running scathing pieces about it which at times verged on transphobia.
Coverage from The Sun prompted more than 100 complaints due to a front page dubbing Drag Queen Storytime ‘trans classes for kids.’