CHULA VISTA, Calif. — The Chula Vista Public Library hosted Drag Queen Storytime as planned Tuesday in spite of protests from local socially conservative organizations.
While organizers expected a large turnout on Tuesday afternoon, they also expect protesters, who showed showed up outside the venue along with supporters.
Drag Queen Story Hour was launched in San Francisco in 2015 and has since spread across the country, even to cities in conservative states like Lincoln, Nebraska, and Juneau, Alaska. The events, according to the DQSH New York chapter, are intended to celebrate learning and play while also teaching children about confidence and gender diversity. The Chula Vista event is not affiliated with the Drag Queen Story Hour organization.
The Chula Vista Library hosted hosting the event with City Councilman Stephen Padilla at the library's Civic Center Branch. The event has drawn both support and consternation from local organizations.
San Diego MassResistance, a local chapter of the national conservative activist group, held a news conference August 29 to demand the event's cancellation. The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed certain chapters of the organization, though not San Diego's, as anti-LGBTQ hate groups, a classification MassResistance vehemently denies.
"This program needs to be shut down before it even starts," said Arthur Schaper, the director of California's state chapter of MassResistance. "Having illicit, sexually explicit adult entertainers reading to children, billing them as heroes and role models, is just unthinkable and unconscionable."
After the news conference, the local interfaith coalition DevOUT backed Drag Queen Story Hour and the city of Chula Vista by writing and signing onto a letter of support.
"Our commitment to our communities is to create inclusive environments that honor the wholeness of all people," said the Rev. Tania Marquez of Unitarian Universalists of the South Bay, part of DevOUT. "I commend the work of the city of Chula Vista library for their commitment to create inclusive and LGBTQ+ affirming programming."
Drag Queen Storytime was held 4 p.m. at the Civic Center Branch library at 365 F Street.