BRENTWOOD (KPIX) – An East Bay library is facing backlash over a children’s storytelling event hosted by a drag queen that some parents say is inappropriate for youngsters.
Although many parents have even called the Brentwood Library to complain, the Contra Costa County library staff stands behind it, saying they’re not cancelling the Drag Queen Storytime.
“This is not a drag performance,” said Contra Costa County Library spokeswoman Brooke Converse. “There’s no agenda attached to it. It’s just someone dressed in a costume and reading books to kids. It’s actually very sweet.”
Converse says the goal is to teach kids about diversity, inclusiveness, and acceptance.
The Drag Queen Storytime event will be held at the community center across from the Brentwood library on February 11th, at 6:30 p.m.
“It’s a healthy way to promote awareness of diversity, different color, different shapes, and different gender identities,” said drag queen Christian Aguirre. Her stage name is Bella Aldama.
At the event, Aldama will read books and do one performance where he’ll lip sync a song.
Still, some parents say a topic related to gender expression is simply not age appropriate for young kids.
Brentwood’s Claire Burr says she will not bring her two boys to the event.
“I don’t have anything against it, but I really don’t want to explain to them this whole thing at the moment,” said Burr.
Another parent at the Brentwood Library said, “Some kids under a certain age, it might be a little confusing.”
The local newspaper, East County Today announced the event on its Facebook page. More than 1,200 people reacted to it. Some called the drag queen event “sick”, “a disgrace,” and an attempt to push “the gay agenda.”
In contrast, parent Jordana Gavarrete supported the event.
“It’s an option for the parents to attend, so it’s not like they’re being forced to attend,” said Gavarrete.
Aguirre said it’s never too early to learn about acceptance and love.
“We all learn at different ages but we all have to learn somehow,” said Aguirre.
The Contra Costa County Library invited Aguirre to a Drag Qreen Storytime event last year at an El Cerrito library. They said they did not encounter much criticism and were surprised by the strong opposition from some of the parents in Brentwood.
They don’t know how many people will attend the free event. Given all the attention, they expect to see a crowd.