#DragQueenStoryHour

Federal Judge Dismisses 'Drag Queen Story Hour' Lawsuit

Instinct recently reported on a lawsuit filed in Houston, Texas, last Friday by a group of anti-LGBTQ people opposing Drag Queen Story at a public library in the gay-centric neighborhood of Montrose.

The group, who have in the past opposed marriage equality and the use of public bathrooms by transgender people, say the events are an attempt to indoctrinate children in the “LGBT doctrine," and violates the freedom of religion clause of the Constitution.

The group also objects to taxpayer dollars being spent on an event they find “not appropriate for all patrons.”

Today, however, Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal dismissed the lawsuit with a short four sentence order.

“There is no basis to support the requested relief,” wrote Judge Rosenthal. “The application is denied.”

According to the Houston Chronicle, one of the haters, Tex Christopher, claims the drag queens are trying to indoctrinate children to believe in another religion he calls “Secular Humanism,” as well as trying to convert children to be transgender.

The lawsuit had named Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and library director Rhea Lawson as the defendants.

Mayor Turner told the Houston Chronicle that the legal maneuver was “a frivolous lawsuit,” and added that no public funds are used for the events.

Turner also celebrated diversity in his city.

“We acknowledge and celebrate that diversity in all its dimensions,” he told the Chronicle. “As mayor of this city I want us to be diverse and inclusive and I want to live in a city where people can be who they are and we can be tolerant of people’s opinions, ideologies, sexual orientation, ethnicities, religion and cultures.”

The events are not unique to Houston. Drag Queen Story Hours have taken place all over the country as part of an effort to inspire children to read and offer an array of role models.

Many children see the drag queens as “larger than life” characters who aren’t afraid to bring the stories to life.

(h/t Houston Chronicle)

Why are Drag Queen Storytimes Causing Lawsuits?

We’ve all heard of the drag queen story times that are all the craze in libraries, bookstores, and other community spaces across the nation. Someone of you may have attended one, perhaps with the children in your life, as an introduction to alternative forms of storytelling and teaching of inclusion, respect, and love for all.

Being a librarian myself, this type of programming was something that our library NEEDED to have because of demographics in Santa Ana, California. So after six month of planning with our community partner The Frida Cinema, in February of this 2018, our library hosted our first Drag Queen Storytime that featured two local queens, Isabella Xochitl and Kunda Couture. The event was a fairytale-themed, bilingual performance that welcomed over 200 visitors. Among them, however, was a group of people who were infiltrating the event to sneak photos that would then turn up on their websites and social media attacking our performers, our staff, and our youth. They called our staff ‘perverted’ and said we were ‘corrupting children’ with our program that did nothing but spread love and acceptance of all people.

The ‘protestors’ were part of several religious groups in Orange County (one of the most notoriously conservative areas in the U.S.) who had begun attacks on our event a month prior to the event date. I won’t even acknowledge their name, because they don’t deserve it. Online folks called for individuals to rally together at council meetings and on the day of the event in opposition to this ‘heinous’ and ‘disturbing’ event. Luckily for us, we were able to take enough precautions to still have a successful event, the first of its kind in Orange County. But no other event has occurred since nor are there plans for another since we had some collateral damage that raised some red flags.

This type of behavior is not isolated, unfortunately, Drag Queen storytimes, or story hours, have been experiencing a great deal of pushback—primarily from religious groups that feel their rights to religious freedom have been violated. But let’s call it what it is—homophobia.

The latest case of this is occurring at one of the largest library systems in the nation, Houston Public Library. According to Chron, a group of anti-gay protestors gathered outside of the federal courthouse on Friday to proclaim that they had filed a lawsuit against the Houston Public Library because of their recent city-sponsored Drag Queen Story Hours claiming their freedom of religion has been violated. The event was advertised for patrons of all ages at the Freed-Montrose Neighborhood branch.

The group has been very active in the opposition of marriage equality, gender neutral restrooms, and are now claiming that the City of Houston is recklessly involved in the “LGBT doctrine”. The lawsuit claims that taxpayer dollars should not be used for such activities since it would never host a “man-woman marriage storytelling hour”.

According to HoustonPress, Youth Services Manager Kallie Benes said:

The goal of the program is to instill a sense of love and acceptance in our children and encourage them to be true to themselves.

One of our staff members was presented [this idea] in an outreach program, and so we followed up, and they were looking to host it in the neighborhood.

That’s part of our job — to stay abreast of the needs of our community. When they ask us for programs, we look at how we can meet their needs and make sure they’re satisfied with the services.

While the concepts that exist in libraries are generally inspired by others, Drag Queen Story Hour is a specific event created by Michelle Tea and RADAR Productions. According to their site, “RADAR Productions is a San Francisco-based non-profit that produces literary happenings around the Bay Area and beyond.  RADAR gives voice to innovative queer and outsider writers and artists whose work authentically reflects the LGBTQA community’s diverse experiences.”

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Harmonica reads at the @nypl #dragqueenstoryhour #dqsh

A post shared by dragqueenstoryhour™️ (@dragqueenstoryhour) on

 

The American Library Association has fully endorsed these types of programs, in any iteration, as a right to intellectual freedom. They have even curated a collection of resources for individuals seeking to bring Drag Queen Storytimes to their libraries or community spaces.

ALA asserts:

ALA, through its actions and those of its members, is instrumental in creating a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive society. This includes a commitment to combating marginalization and underrepresentation within the communities served by libraries through increased understanding of the effects of historical exclusion.

See why I love being a librarian? Because the library IS open!

Your drag queen event doesn’t have to be exactly like a Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH), but the mission behind your efforts toward inclusion are the same.

DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of 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, where dress up is real.

For a list of Drag Queen Story Hours happening soon, or for information, check out their website.

Let’s continue to spread the love of literacy and creativity through glamorous and fabulous drag queens. I hope you will join the dragvolution by producing, attending, or supporting events of this nature in your community and beyond.

h/t: Chron, HoustonPress, RADAR Productions, American Library Association, DQSH,

 

Abrasive Pastor Disrupts Drag Queen Story Hour!

Abrasive Pastor Disrupts Drag Queen Story Hour!


This Isn’t The First Time He’s Publicly Harassed Children!

#GROAN! Frequently on my social media, I’ve encountered many acquaintances and beyond speaking of Drag Queen Story Hour. The event, created in San Francisco by Michelle Tea and Radar Productions, does just as the title of their event: Drag Queen read children’s books to give queer children role models and imagine themselves in a world where they are accepted and allowed the freedom to be themselves. Officially, the library has been open for a year – and we’ve been there to cover the Queens’ giving back to the children from the start. While the event is harmless, an Evangelist Pastor recently showed up at the Story Hour to spread his hatred.


In a video released on Facebook from NowThisPolitics, Pastor Dave Grisham of Last Frontier Evangelism. I tried to do some sleuthing for you and discovered Grisham lives in Anchorage, Alaska. On June 9th, he boasts in a public Facebook post claiming he was the first ministry in history to directly confront homosexuals in a public library. He claims the homosexuals are “coming after the children.” Check out his cringe worthy post below:



This may not be the first time you’ve seen Grisham. In December 2016, Grisham went into a Texas mall and screamed to children that Santa is not real. His public, unhinged rant – obviously terrifying children – can be rewatched here. Who is the person truly coming for children? A kind Drag Queen reading a book or someone crushing their dreams in a public space!? This guy is a lunatic!


Grisham invaded a ticketed event (the Story Hour) by announcing his name – immediately followed by “NO!” But, of course, he can not mind his own business. He continues a rant stating there is no such thing as transgender and Drag Queens. He’s clearly confused that Queens and transgender individuals are completely opposite. One is a character or a job, while the other is an actual human being. The organizers are fast to kick him out, although Grisham declares he has a right to disrupt the event. The video is so terrifying. This guy invades a completely silent, peaceful room to spread his hate. This is not okay.


Check out the disturbing video below:

 

 


Don’t forget you can check out the many events being held by Story Hour here. Just, maybe don’t show up spewing the hate in your heart.