A group of local pastors in Mobile, Alabama, are speaking out against a public library for hosting a Drag Queen Story Hour, and are voicing their concerns with the city to stop the event.
The pastors throughout Mobile are hoping to get the city to cancel a September 8 event at Mobile’s Ben May Main Library where an adult drag queen is expected to read to a group of children between the ages of three and eight years old, AL.com reported.
The pastors are scheduled to voice their concerns about the event at next Monday’s Mobile County Commission meeting, in the hopes the city can put a stop to it.
“This is far, far from the moral values and the morality of Mobile, Alabama,” Pastor Fred Wolfe of Luke 4:18 Fellowship told WALA. “I know the vast number of Mobilians who live in Mobile and Mobile county are not ready to embrace, and I’m thankful, this kind of indoctrination of children who really at that age aren’t even aware of sexuality.”
The pastor added that the event “is not good for children” because it is confusing children’s perception of gender at a young age.
“Why would a man dress up like a woman and why would we confuse children that hears a man dressed up like a woman?” he said. “I have no animosity or bitterness or anger to the LGBT community. It’s not a personal attack on you, but it’s an affirmation of our beliefs that this is not good for children.”
But despite concerns from pastors and residents, the city government said that it does not have the power to stop the event.
“The Mobile Public Library is a separate organization from the city of Mobile, but the governing board of the library is appointed by the Mobile City Council,” said Laura Byrne, a spokesperson for Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s office.
The local LGBTQ organization sponsoring the event, Rainbow Mobile, says it is the parents’ decision to bring the children to the event, claiming it is an “age-appropriate event.”
“This is an age-appropriate event that will promote literacy as well as teaching empathy and showing that it’s okay to be different, in the hopes of curtailing bullying, not only in schools, but when they reach adulthood as well,” Rainbow Mobile said in a statement. “The amount of parents who are thanking us for organizing and bringing this event to Mobile is astounding.”
The Mobile Public Library announced on their Facebook page Monday that they are not providing any monetary funds toward the Drag Queen Story Time event, but are not excluding the group from holding the event at the library.
“The Drag Queen Story Time is not a Mobile Public Library sponsored event, and neither the Mobile Public Library nor the Friends of the Library have provided any monetary funds toward the program,” the post reads.
But the Mobile Public Library Board elaborated on their statement on Wednesday, saying that it would be exclusionary if they did not allow the group to speak, even if the library does not endorse the group’s views.
“Permission to use a library meeting room does not constitute library endorsement of any group’s policies, objectives, goals or beliefs,” the board said in a statement. “If we exclude one group, we must exclude all.”
Drag Queen Story Hour events have been popping up at public schools and other educational facilities throughout the world. In one such event in a Brooklyn, New York, public school, a first-grade teacher who praised the event said the drag queens told her students “there is no such thing as ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ things.”