Drag Queen Story Time is attracting attention from both advocates and adversaries in Kelowna, Canada, and has caused a rift within the library’s management team, with the CEO saying the event will be regarded as offensive by a significant number of community members.
An estimated 300 people crammed into the library’s storytime space to read stories and sing with drag queen Freida Whales on Saturday. It is the second Drag Queen Story Time at Kelowna’s library, but such events events appear to be taking on the status of rallying cries and attracting many sympathizers with homosexuals and cross-dressers.
“I’d say it’s looking like we tripled our numbers,” said Monica Gaucher, Okanagan Regional Library’s public services director. “It’s amazing. There’s such enthusiasm happening here.”
Only two people showed up to protest the event.
“I support raising kids with traditional values because the science is in on that, and we don’t know what happens to kids who do this,” protester Austin Furgason said. “People are turning their kids into social experiments, in my opinion.”
Library CEO Don Nettleton also wrote a letter to the board, warning that the event will offend a significant segment of society.
He recommended that the board approve a policy that programs for children should be “acceptable by the bulk of society (aimed at the middle of the road) to avoid controversy and be as well accepted in the community as possible.”
However, this view has divided the library’s management team.
“I stand on the other side of that memo, and as librarians, we will defend the Charter of Rights,” Gaucher said. “We will defend freedom to speak.”
The library board is holding a meeting on Nov. 20, and is scheduled to decide on whether or not to enact a policy that could stop events like Drag Queen Story Time.