There has been a concerted effort by Christian Right activists to denounce and disrupt Drag Queen Story Hours. In some instances, they’ve been successful in getting the events canceled.
The events themselves shouldn’t be controversial. They involve drag queens reading to children with an intent to celebrate diversity, help kids look beyond gender stereotypes, and prevent bullying.
But because these are drag queens, the Christians think it’s part of some recruiting effort to turn kids… gay? Trans? Who knows. Logic isn’t their strong suit.
It’s also weird that the right-wing activists are targeting libraries since public institutions aren’t usually the ones sponsoring these events. The local non-profit groups putting them on request to use the public space — just like everyone else — so punishing the libraries for accepting the request is especially illogical since the libraries technically have no choice in the matter.
And nothing screams “illogical” more than the “Activist Mommy,” Elizabeth Johnston, who recently called on her followers to “Jam the phone lines” of the Lexington Park Library in Maryland to prevent drag queens from reading “confusing, gender-bending books.”
(To be fair, Christians like her think all books are confusing.)
One of the groups putting on that particular event is the Southern Maryland Area Secular Humanists (SMASH). Chapter Coordinator Samantha McGuire told me she reserved the space months ago as part of local Pride month festivities. She was hoping a dozen kids would show up… but before long, more than 50 children had signed up for the event.
As McGuire explained in an email, she knew the backlash was coming. Johnston’s attacks were predictable — but they’ve actually boosted publicity for the event.
[Johnston] also doesn’t know that we have been down this road before; that we have the rooms reserved according to the policies that are in place, and the Library can’t cancel our event without facing legal repercussions.
As a result of her spreading her hate around, we now have over 120 registrations for the main event and another 30 or 40 people showing up to volunteer for the event. We are excited and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support that we have gotten both on our event page and in emails and messages sent to us.
There is not even a remote possibility that we will be convinced to cancel this event. In fact we are already considering doing more of them in the area. We are gearing up to make this event a success and are hoping to provide all of our registrants with a wonderful glittery, rainbow filled day of fun activities.
You can sign up for the June 23 event here.
If you don’t live in the area, though, there’s another way to help.
SMASH and PFLAG, the groups putting on the local event, are asking for donations so they can hold additional events like this one and cover “glittery, rainbow-filled” supplies for all the kids attending. Hell, make your donation in Johnston’s name. Let her know her faith-based bigotry is inspiring even more of these events.
Drag queen love for everyone!
(Screenshot via YouTube)