South Hill library to hold drag queen story hour, protest planned

South Hill library to hold drag queen story hour, protest planned

“Drag Queen Story Hour” is coming to Spokane and a counter protest is already in the works.

The South Hill branch of the Spokane Library is planning to hold the event on June 15 as part of Pride Month. The program is an hour-long library story time for children 3-8 years old.

DQSH is nothing new; similar events have been held at libraries and schools across the country. According to its website, DQSH was created in San Francisco and has an evergrowing network of chapters across the world. The organization also helps libraries and schools organize their own events.

“DQSH is just what it sounds like — drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real,” the organization’s website reads.

According to a release from SPL, drag queens will read a diversity-themed children’s book, lead a colorful craft activity and a dance party at the Spokane event.

On Thursday, a Facebook page called “500 Mom Strong” was created. The group, organized by Anna Bohach and a handful of other moms, plans to protest the story hour. According to their page, the group hopes to have 500 mothers show up to protest the event.

“It’s offensive. It’s no different from black face, it’s a sexist minstrel show,” Bohach said in a phone interview Friday.

Bohach, a mother of four young children, said drag is misogynistic and overly sexual.

“For every woman I talk to, it’s extremely offensive. People need to step up and say something,” said Bohach. “It’s no different than exotic dancing for my toddler.”

Bohach said she is frustrated that her tax dollars are going toward an event she does not support.

“When you don’t have a lot of money for events and summer camps, what do you do? You go to library story hours and free events for kids,” Bohach said.

Bohach said she reached out to the library to express her concerns, but they responded by telling her to ignore the event. That was when she decided to organize 500 Mom Strong and the protest. She said the group is starting their efforts on Facebook, but plan to reach out to churches, as well.

“LGBTQ children need role models, and all children should learn to embrace gender diversity and learn empathy,” the library said in a release. “We are hosting a Drag Queen story Hour as part of Pride Month and as a reflection of our key value of diversity and including and celebrating Spokane’s diverse communities.”

To that, Bohach said the event is not promoting inclusivity and eqaulity, it is instead promoting sexualization.

On Friday, the library released a statement saying there will be a panel discussion surrounding the top of drag queens on June 8. The panel will consist of experts and community members representing multiple perspectives on the topic.

Both the story time and protest are planned for 2 p.m. on June 15.

An additional drag queen story hour event is planned for the downtown branch on June 22 at 2 p.m.

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