A man was arrested at a Drag Queen Story Time in New York City Saturday after he aggressively attempted to provoke protesters who had shown up in opposition to the event, resulting in an altercation with what turned out to be an undercover cop.
The Drag Story Hour for children aged 3 to 9 was being held at the main branch of the New York Public Library and was met with protesters from a local conservative group who showed up with signs saying “leave our kids alone” and “respect childhood.”
In video footage of the clash, Chase Catapano can be seen gesturing angrily at the assembled group and shouting expletives and insults, before going on to tear a sign out of the hands of one of the protesters. According to the Daily Mail, Catapano, 28, has a record of civil disobedience and had no association with the library or the event.
After shouting “get the f*ck out of here” several times and becoming increasingly agitated, Catapano finds himself in a confrontation with someone he seems to believe is one of the protesters but who is in fact an undercover NYPD officer attending the protest to ensure things don’t get out of hand.
After the undercover officer tries to calm him down, an irate Catapano can be heard saying “I don’t give a f*ck who you are” before attempting to shove the officer, who towers over him. He was arrested shortly afterwards and now faces charges of disorderly conduct, harassment, attempted assault and obstructing governmental administration, reports the Daily Mail.
One of the protesters explained that the group shows up to protest such events to “protect the innocence of our kids.”
“And they’re using our taxpayer money to fund this,” the protester said in a video clip posted on Twitter. “As taxpayers we have a right to say where our money goes. It’s a public library; we went in there and we protested, and we shut it down early so it was a big success.”
The drag queen brought in to read stories to children as young as 3 was a performer called Paradise, a “trans and gender-nonconforming rainbow unicorn princex,” and the Daily Mail reports library staffers describing the purpose of the event as being “to celebrate gender diversity and all forms of difference to build empathy and give kids the confidence to express themselves, however they feel comfortable.”
In New York Public Library footage from two years ago, Paradise kicks off story time for children by explaining that Pride was started by a “black trans woman” and telling the kids that “black lives do matter, as well as, in particular, black trans lives do matter.”Opinion continues to be polarized on the issue of exposing children to drag queens. One side of the debate believes drag is nothing more than fun dress-up that teaches children about gender diversity and creates a more welcoming and inclusive world.
While critics argue that drag is an adult form of entertainment and highly inappropriate for children, pointing to the numerous occasions that footage has emerged of scantily-clad drag performers dancing provocatively in the presence of children. Yet more opposition to allowing children to be entertained by men dressed as sexualised parodies of woman comes from the belief that drag story time events are part of an intentional “queering” of childhood in which queer theorists seek to break down all societal norms of morality.
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