One of the most popular features of public libraries is story time. Usually, a librarian or a special guest will read some books and maybe even sing some songs to children. These are usually non-controversial because after all, who is against helping children get into books?
When you add drag queens to the mix, it becomes a lot more controversial. The UL-Lafayette chapter of Delta Lambda Phi wants to host a “Drag Queen Story Time” at the Lafayette Parish Library on October 6. Delta Lambda Phi is a fraternity for gay, bisexual, and progressive men.
What is “Drag Queen Story Time?” It is basically an event where men dressed as women, or drag queens, read to children and their families. The children are usually between 3-6 years old. You can see why this is controversial for many parents.
From The Daily Advertiser:
The reaction has been mixed after the Lafayette Public Library announced plans for its first Drag Queen Story Time.
Members of the Delta Lambda Phi social fraternity will lead the event, scheduled for 2 p.m. Oct. 6 at the library’s main branch.
Library Director Teresa Elberson said the fraternity approached the library about the program. After a lengthy discussion, library officials decided to move forward. The event is expected to include fraternity members dressed in drag who will read to children and participate in activities with them and their families.
“We decided it would be a good way to talk about differences and acceptance,” said Elberson. “The children’s department said they would work with these young men and set the guidelines for what books would be read and what activities would be done.”
According to the library, the books and songs that will be performed are going to be “age-appropriate.” Also, the story time will not focus on sex and gender.
This has not stopped critics of the story time from speaking out. Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux has suggested canceling the event.
Joe Cunningham wrote at RedState a possible reason why the library, which is located in one of the most conservative parts of Louisiana, should have been more skeptical about this event.
This part of the state is pretty conservative, as well as highly Christian. Socially it is conservative, and recent tax proposal elections have shown the area to also be fiscally conservative. Outside of UL, it is impossible to see a major progressive presence making a request like this.
But, the Drag Queen Story Time is not an event being hosted at the university library. It is being held at the parish library. It is not state-funded, but locally-funded.
I cannot blame the library for saying “Yes!” to Delta Lambda Phi. The headache that would stem from that would be overwhelming. However, one of those tax proposals that failed at the ballot box? Yeah, it was a proposed sales tax for the public library. It’s speculated that the library will try again, but by the time the next election cycles roll around, this event will already have happened.
How do you think the socially and fiscally conservative voters of the parish will react? The library may never see another cent from the residents.
But at a recent meeting of the Lafayette Parish Council, 19 out of 20 speakers spoke out in favor of the event. It’s fair to say that there is some community support for the event.
Probably the best way to find out whether or not this event is popular is when the Lafayette Parish libraries ask for a tax increase or renewal. The opponents of library tax increases might keep this event in mind once the parish asks for more taxes again.
Exit question: would you send your kids to a “drag queen story time?” Tell us in the comments!