On Sept 10, San Diego had its first-ever Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) program at the Otay Ranch Branch of the Chula Vista Civic Center Library. The program is one of the many branches of the four-year-old Francisco based international organization, Drag Queen Story Hour. Their website states, “DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models.”
The program has received much criticism since it was announced, with parents pushing back against the program, arguing that it is inappropriate for drag queens to read to children.
“I believe that children should be able to group up and be children and not be influenced by these kinds of events with drag queens.” parent Delores Williams said to NBC San Diego.
A protest was held outside the library against the scheduled public event where the drag queens, Raquelita and Barbie Q, were scheduled to read to children on a small stage during two sessions that lasted about a half an hour each.
It descended into a screaming fest when people from the opposing and supporting sides gathered to make their voices heard.
“We are here to ensure the Drag Queen story hour is cancelled here in Chula Vista,” organizer of the protester Arthur Schaper said to NBC San Diego. “We want it to be shut down all over the country. This is a perverse, destructive program pushing lies.”
Those who are supportive of the program said it was an opportunity to help spread diversity and inclusion. A woman leaving the venue with her grandson was forced to walk past protesters, according to NBC San Diego.
“When we get home we are going to have a conversation. As you can see, there is so much hate out here,” Drea Palmer said. “Unfortunately, so I have to teach my five-year-old grandson that we do not hate and we love. We are an all-inclusive-family and that love is so important.”
Raquelita and Barbie Q danced around the room with flashy outfits during their reading.
“We feel it is important to teach kids how to be themselves and art is definitely a way to do that,” Raquelita said.
According to NBC San Diego, parents asked the city of Chula Vista to ban the event, but the city responded with full support, backing up supporters’ claims that the event promotes inclusivity.
“What makes me feel very empowered is to know that there is also a lot of readers in the community that support.” Barbie Q said.
Their next reading is yet to be scheduled.