According to The Advertiser, residents in Lafayette, Louisiana are defending a public library’s plan to host a fraternity’s drag queen story hour.
More than 20 citizens spoke Tuesday at a Lafayette City-Parish Council meeting and said that they approved of the event. One citizen disagreed. The “Drag Queen Story Time” is due to take place on Oct. 6 and is being planned by a provisional chapter of the Delta Lambda Phi fraternity from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
The fraternity, founded by gay men, embraces bisexual, transgender and progressive men.
Brad Parfait, a sophomore at UL-Lafayette, thought the event was important for the community and told The Advocate so.
“It’s important for young kids to understand this is normal behavior, even if it may be different to some. It’s not something you should be bullied over.”
Similar drag events have been held all around the world, including in Atlanta, New York City and even Orlando, Florida. The events have been hailed as major successes, with organizations such as the Association for Library Service to Children calling those who took part in them “library pioneers.”
While the event seeming has the support of the community, as early as Tuesday it was threatened with cancellation by the Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux who indicated that he may look to call off the event. Robideaux also wanted to know how the event was approved.
“Our parish libraries are public spaces, with venues that any group or individual can reserve, on a non-discriminatory basis, as required by law,” Robideaux said in a statement. “We have to be certain, however, that our internally approved programming is both appropriate and serves the needs of the Lafayette Parish.”
The event has received both criticism and praise online since it was announced during the weekend. Recommended for 3-to-6-year-olds and their families, supporters say that is represents inclusion and openness in their community. Opponents, however, claim that it is inappropriate for children.
Thankfully, the library’s director, Theresa Elberson, says that she has no plans to cancel the event unless she is instructed by the library board to do otherwise.
“These individuals aren’t talking about sex or gender or anything to do with that at all,” Elberson said. “We are trying to use an individual wearing a dress to open the conversation about being different. That’s it.”
We, for one, are proud to see the residents of Lafayette rallying around this cause.
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