Children’s drag queen event at Costa Mesa church draws protest

Drag queen Autumn Rose reads to children at Fairview Community Church in Costa Mesa during a recent story time event. (Kevin Chang / Daily Pilot Staff Photographer)

Daily Pilot. Members, allies and critics of Fairview Community Church in Costa Mesa and the LGBTQ community surrounded the church’s driveway Saturday either to protest or protect what was happening inside: a children’s story time with a drag queen.

Fairview began hosting Autumn Rose for monthly readings in July. The first event was sleepy, said pastor Sarah Halverson-Cano. The next one, in August, drew opponents.

The church got wind of the plans of a protest through social media and brought in security, which they enhanced with more volunteer watchers and a winding wall of tarps, sheets and umbrellas to shield families as they entered the facility.

Security and legal observers outnumbered the roughly half-dozen protesters who came and went over about two hours. One person volunteered to DJ a “dance party” on the lawn behind the fluttering tarp wall, which drowned out protesters’ exhortations with Beyonce and Elton John.

Neon-clad security guards and legal observers kept watch on the small demonstration. Several children wore masquerade masks to protect their identities in protesters’ photos and videos, Halverson-Cano said. One child, about 8, parted two sheets like curtains and held out a sheet of notebook paper scrawled with “equality.”

Beverly Welch said she protested the event because she believes “it is not only the indoctrination but sexualization of young children.”

“With society, especially in California, pushing gender dysmorphia as normal [and] introducing children, who are already confused beyond belief, to a man, dressed as a woman and treating it as normal, is unacceptable,” she said. “Drag was created as adult entertainment, period. Children are children for a very short time, we need to allow them to stay children.”

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