CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Tuesday’s Drag Queen Story Time has been moved to Chula Vista’s Civic Center Library in order to accommodate a bigger crowd, but not everybody in the community is supporting the event.
Pastor Art Hodges has been vocal on the matter. On Monday, he met with Chula Vista mayor asking her “not to do it on government dollar property” and to “not do it with city government supporting this.”
That conversation led to keeping the program as is at the Chula Vista Public Library on Tuesday.
“The request to cancel the story hour, and I don’t think it is a good idea to do that. It is going to be a good program. We have over 300 RSVPs that want to hear the story hour,” said Mayor Mary Salas.
The story, however, has now grown from story time to possible links to hate crime at Pastor Hodges’ church. On Sunday, the congregation at South Bay Pentecostal Church discovered vandalism with messages of Satan, hell, and graffiti with sexual vulgarities.
While the church believes it was targeted for speaking up, the mayor of Chula Vista said, “I have talked to our chief of police and there is not direct link with the church being vandalized.”
While neither side could see eye-to-eye, their meeting did confirm two books will be read at Drag Queen Story Time.
“Neither of the books have any sexual component to it. Neither of them has a LGBTQ agenda. The books are simply about being different, how people are different,” said Pastor Hodges.
Chula Vista mom, Jamie Johnston is one of hundreds of famillies planning to see Drag Queen Story Time.
"I am excited about tomorrow! I can't wait for my kids to see everything! I just want to show my children we embrace difference and diversity," she said.
Despite how both sides feel about drag queens reading to kids, Mayor Mary Salas said their intent is simple: to read to children.
Pastor Hodges said Mayor Salas invited him to attend Tuesday's Drag Queen Story Time. He said he will attend only part of it, but then plans to join other faith leaders who have opposed the event on the steps of city hall to gather in prayer.