There were angry scenes outside a library in Hamilton, Ontario on Thursday when a group of people protesting Drag Queen Storytime met with a counter-protest of queer activists.
The event featuring drag performer Hexe Noire was being held at the Terryberry Library in Hamilton and according to a Facebook post by Noire, it involved puppets, singing, dancing, and books. "Just your typical awesome family-friendly lgbtq2S+ positive event," said Noire.
But not everyone in Canada thinks drag queens are suitable family-friendly entertainment. Activist Chrystal Peters, who was arrested last month for protesting outside a so-called family-friendly drag show in Gravenhurst, put the call out on Facebook for people to join her in protesting to "shut this down."
Footage from the protest shows a crowd of people chanting "leave the kids alone" while another group, many of whom holding rainbow flags, stand nearby. A line of police officers separated the two.
"What about the children?" said Peters into a megaphone. "We have a whole nation of children who are now confused. They don’t know whether they are boys or girls."
"It has been brought to my attention there will be a group of homophobic Freedom fighters that will be showing up to protest and reek [sic] general havoc at the event," said Noire in a Facebook post before the event. "This post is me calling out to all my rainbow family to come out and stand with me as a community, the Hamilton lgbtq2S+ community is no stranger to hate and we can't let these people take our events and safe spaces away from us."
"I need you now queer Hamilton. Thursday at 10 am at the Terryberry Library. We will peacefully enjoy a drag Storytime together with no hate and only love and acceptance for all our rainbow family."
While many showed online support for the drag performer, some suggested people objecting to children being exposed to drag wasn’t necessarily about bigotry.
"You confuse homophobic with child-minded. These people don't care you are a cross-dresser. They care that parents seem to think it's relevant for a child to have such a premise in their lives. Read to your children at home. A child relates this more to a clown reading to them. They don't understand the LGBTQ+ sociology and politics behind the adult-type statement of such an event. The fact you don't understand that is a testament to your immaturity," said one person in the replies.
Opinion continues to be polarized when it comes to the issue of exposing children to drag queens. On the one hand, supporters claim that it teaches children about gender fluidity and makes society more accepting and inclusive. Critics argue that exposing children to adult men dressed as sexualized parodies of womanhood is inappropriate and does nothing to promote healthy acceptance of gender nonconformity.
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