ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It drew a lot of online push back. However, the city’s first ever ‘Drag Queen Story Time ‘ ended up being one of the biggest events they’ve ever hosted.
Downtown library organizers estimate about 250 kids and adults showed up to listen and watch local drag queens Bunnie Cruse and Vanessa Patricks read children’s books and sing songs late Saturday morning.
“If we can make one little kid see that it’s okay to be different, then its worth everything that we put into it,” said Cruse in an interview with KRQE News 13.
The city says it hosted the first ‘Drag Queen Storytime’ event as a way of being more inclusive to the LGBTQ community for Pride Month.
“I think tolerance starts early, and I think it’s a great way to support our community and the individuals in our community,” said Sonia Paiz, a mother who showed up with her son, supporting the event.
Outside, a group of about six or so people showed up to protest, holding outspoken signs opposing the city event. One of those protesters, Marcie May ended up getting kicked out of the event after she said, “stop grooming children’ during one of the first parts of the book reading.
“Why are children being exposed to adult behavior?” said in an interview with KRQE News 13 before the event.
“Kids need to be kids, they need to be children. Why are we doing this on taxpayer dollar, Mayor, why are we doing this?” May asked.
May’s protest event ended up being the only disruption during the about 45-minute storytime. Some families who went say they appreciate the city hosting this for the first time.
“It’s really encouraging to see all this support,” said Darline Lucero who attended the event with her wife Jennifer and daughter Genevieve.
“We have a family that has two moms, so we just want to show her that.. there’s all kinds of different people out there and that we should be accepting of all,” said Darline Lucero.
Library staff says Saturday’s crowd was about 10 times larger than typical storytime crowds. Although, this event was also held on a Saturday and typically, story time events are held during the week.
The group Equality New Mexico helped put this together and said library staff were encouraged to see the crowd and welcomed the possibility of doing another one of these events. Leading up to the story, City Councilor Pat Davis said his office received more than 500 faxes, emails, and phone calls with people opposing the event.