The Hartford Public Library in Connecticut will host two Drag Queen Story Hour events Saturday as part of the library’s celebration of its LGBTQ “Big Read” campaign.
The controversial drag queen events have stirred tensions in many cities throughout the country, such as Chula Vista, California, where an LGBT-activist city official said groups protesting the event were people who hold “white supremacist beliefs.”
Hartford Library CEO Bridget Quinn told the Hartford Courant she is prepared for any protests against the event.
“I don’t anticipate a major response,” she said. “Hartford is pretty open-minded.”
“We have had a few people express concern, but we tell them that this is a way to engage kids in reading,” Quinn added. “It’s fun. It’s a way to expose them to different cultures and lifestyles.”
The website of the Drag Queen Story Hour, an event targeting toddlers and young children, specifically states the purpose of the events is to provide children with “glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models.”
Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, told Breitbart News the events create gender confusion for children.
“Grotesquely oversexualized and misogynistic drag queens should not be teaching gender confusion to children in public libraries,” he said. “Traditional-minded people and feminists alike ought to oppose the false stereotypes of women being peddled to children by these events. “
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.
Houston MassResistance exposes "Drag Queen Story Hour" cross-dresser as registered child sex offender! Library officials forced to apologize to public. See explosive video! https://t.co/SDfN8rPCGx pic.twitter.com/dNWMEjJdEe
— massresistance.org (@MassResistance) March 17, 2019
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.
Quinn said the annual Big Read event is “meant to show the open values of the library.”
“The ‘Big Read’ is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest,” states the library on its website.
The Big Read adult book this year is Advice from the Lights by Harvard English professor Stephanie Burt, a biological man who identifies as a woman.
The children’s Big Read book is George, written by queer activist Alex Gino and published by Scholastic. George, a story about a boy who claims to be a girl, was condemned in 2018 by Christian advocacy organization One Million Moms.
One Million Moms also recently launched a boycott of Whole Foods Market in Atlanta over the food market chain’s sponsorship of a Drag Queen Story Hour event.
“This year we wanted to focus on LGBTQ literature and start it at the same time as the citywide celebration of pride,” Liz Castle, Hartford Library’s programming and events manager, said, according to the Courant.
Two of the LGBT-themed books to be read to the young children by the drag queens are Pink is for Boys and Julian is a Mermaid.
The 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.”
The Drag Queen Story Hour in Hartford will include a question-and-answer period, a craft activity, and opportunity for the children to take a photo with the drag queens, Giganta Smalls and Robin Fierce.
“A drag queen isn’t something you see every day unless you go to shows or watch ‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race,’” Fierce told the Courant. “But we are people, we are here doing our art form and just like any other kind of performer we are palatable to everyone and just want everyone to have a fun time.”