A battle over a Drag Queen Story Hour event in Chula Vista, California, has intensified as an LGBT-activist member of the city council accused pro-family protesters of the events of holding “white supremacist beliefs.”
As CBS8 reported, Steve Padilla, an openly gay, LGBT-activist Chula Vista councilmember, posted to Facebook that Drag Queen Story Hour protesters, such as pro-family group MassResistance, hold “white supremacist beliefs.”
Padilla voiced his support for the events, one of which has been scheduled by the Chula Vista Public Library later in the month, with a statement on his Facebook page:
I am disappointed that some voices both from inside and outside our community have chosen to use the upcoming Drag Queen Storytime as an opportunity to perpetuate long discredited false and discriminatory narratives targeting the LGBTQ+ community in the name of protecting children. This is wrong and must be called out for what it is – the spreading of ignorance, fear, and hate. Much of this fearmongering is being organized by the local chapter of a nationally known hate-group which promotes not just anti-LGBTQ beliefs, but also anti-immigrant and white supremacist beliefs. These ideas and tactics do not reflect the community I love and serve.
Pro-family protesters rallied Thursday in front of the main branch of the public library in Chula Vista to condemn the Drag Queen Story Hour scheduled on September 10. The library advertised the event as one that would encourage “reading, learning & inclusivity” among young children and “celebrate our wonderfully diverse community with stories, crafts and dancing.”
“Drag Queen Story Hour is not innocent fun to celebrate play while teaching diversity and tolerance,” said Arthur Schaper of pro-family group MassResistance, reported CBS8. “If adult entertainers engage in those behaviors, they can do so freely in their nightclubs and cabarets but not around children.”
NBC7 reported many parents have been alerting others online, urging them to call upon the library to put an end to the event.
Amado Huizar, a father of four and pastor in Chula Vista, said he is concerned about how the drag queen reading event influences children, especially regarding “the sexual innuendo.”
NBC7 interviewed drag queen performer “Strawberry Corn Cakes” about whether the reading event is about sexuality.
“Not at all. Not all,” the drag queen replied. “Especially not with kids. Come on now.”
“It’s unfortunate that people aren’t agreeing with it in when it’s all about fun,” Strawberry Corn Cakes said.
However, last fall one drag queen admitted the story hours for young children are not just about fun.
Dylan Pontiff, a gay man who uses the name Santana Pilar Andrews when dressed in drag, helped organize a story hour for Louisiana preschoolers. He said the event’s purpose is “the grooming of the next generation.”
“I’m here to let you know that this event is something that’s going to be very beautiful and for the children and the people that supported are going to realize that this is going to be the grooming of the next generation,” Pontiff told the Lafayette City-Parish Council. “We are trying to groom the next generation to not see the way that they just did.”
LGBTQ activists countered the protesters at the rally, with several officers from the Chula Vista Police Department on hand to keep the crowd in check.
“The Drag Queen Story Hour helps teach them about the acceptance of all,” said Dennis Nicely of LGBT-activist group PFLAG.
Other activists said the event promotes tolerance and diversity.
“We are here to represent community values, which are inclusiveness and acceptance, love and diversity,” said Irina Sagade. “These are values of a public space.”
An announcement by the library posted to Facebook said the scheduled Drag Queen Story Hour event was “in celebration of the city of Chula Vista’s proclamation of September 14, 2019 as LGBTQ Day.”
“We strongly believe that libraries are a clear reflection of the community they serve,” the public library continued. “We aim to foster an environment that encourages reading, learning & inclusivity, celebrate our wonderfully diverse community with stories, crafts and dancing on 09/10/2019.”
On Sunday, the library announced the location of the Drag Queen Story Hour would be changed from the Otay Ranch Library to the Chula Vista Civic Center:
“More space needed to accommodate expected attendance,” read a news release.
“The Chula Vista Public Library welcomes everyone, and programming at the City’s three libraries includes and reflects the diverse communities the libraries serve,” the release continued. “Hosting drag queens to read and relate with children promotes reading and literacy and sends a positive message of acceptance and tolerance.”
The library stated the drag queen event was “sponsored in partnership with San Diego Pride and South Bay Alliance.”
Caroline (Cara) Dessert, Esq., CEO of the San Diego LGBT Community Center, saidin a statement the Drag Queen Story Hour promotes “literacy,” among other things:
Drag Queen Story Hour provides a fun and engaging way to promote literacy and to help young people understand the value of diversity and acceptance. These types of events also offer us a chance to appreciate individuality and combat harmful gender stereotypes. With that in mind, it [sic] easy to understand the reasons that American Library Association is supporting Drag Queen Story Hours as an effective way to add inclusive, diverse, and more equitable programming at public libraries.
The left-wing American Library Association (ALA) encourages Drag Queen Story Hour events and is supporting those libraries experiencing “pushback” from their communities.
“ALA, through its actions and those of its members, is instrumental in creating a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive society,” the organization states. “This includes a commitment to combating marginalization and underrepresentation within the communities served by libraries through increased understanding of the effects of historical exclusion.”
Concerns about safety at the Drag Queen Story Hour events made headlines recently when Houston MassResistance discovered drag queen Alberto Garza, who uses the name Tatiana Mala-Nina when reading to young children, had been convicted in 2008 of sexually assaulting an eight-year-old boy. The Houston library system had failed to perform a background check on Garza or any of the other drag queens appearing in its programs.
Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon, also faced backlash when it was found the library system had quietly removed from social media photos of the Drag Queen Story Hour that took place at one of its libraries during which young children were lying on top of the drag queens and fondling their false breasts.
According to the Drag Queen Story Hour website, the aim of the event is to present gender fluidity as a positive quality children should accept and even emulate:
Drag Queen Story Hour captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity in childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, and where dress-up is real.
However, a special education teacher protesting the Chula Vista drag queen event carried a sign that read, “Stop perversion of children.”
“It’s horrible what’s happening to America,” she lamented, CBS8 reported. “It’s horrible what’s happening to San Diego.”
“Wake up, America, wake up!” she added tearfully.