The drag queen library reading is a step in the right direction

by Ellyzuh Lemus, Contributor

On Sept. 10 the Chula Vista library held a book reading event for kids with an unlikely group of storytellers: drag queens.

I first heard the news from my mother. I was shocked of course, mainly surprised that such an event could ever exist. I’ll admit I had my concerns for about two seconds, but afterwards, I was amazed that a public library could host something so bold. It even made me want to walk over to the library and applaud each and every staff member who made it happen. 

But, as always, the beauty of publicity swept the news by storm. It was all over the morning channels. There were nods of approval from supporters who believed this event will encourage children to be themselves, and to not be ashamed of who or what they want to be. Others opposed the drag queen’s involvement, some to the extent of protesting outside the library demanding the cancellation of the event. To them, the idea of having drag queens read to children is inappropriate, given these are historically controversial adult entertainers reading to children in a public setting. 

The reality is, it’s just drag queens who are reading books to kids. It’s not that these drag queens are trying to convince children to be drag queens themselves. Rather, it is a direct message of acceptance to all groups of people. At the end of the day, it is the parents decision what they want their children to be exposed to. If a parent wants to have their children be read to drag queens, then that will be their decision to make for them. If a parent is upset about the event taking place, all they need to do is not allow their children to go. 

A protest seems unnecessary to begin with, given they are not trying to convince the community not to participate, they are simply making their statement on what they believe is right and wrong.

It marvels me on how much we have come so far, but I understand we still have a long way to go. I didn’t think that an event like this would have been possible years ago. Because of this, I feel proud to be a witness of such change. We are living in a world where things may very well be possible for any group. Of course, change does take time. Not everyone will agree, and they probably never will. 

I am aware there are families who feel it is their responsibility to protect their children from what they would consider obscene or inappropriate. But if I were to have children of my own and there were other parents telling their children that certain characteristics are a disgrace to society, what would my child feel about that? How am I to explain to them that there are people who either hate, don’t understand or accept how different we all are? 

In the future, I hope that when that time comes I wouldn’t have to explain. Which is why it is up to us to look beyond what society depict any group of people. And what I know now is that there is more to drag queens than just nightclub performances.  

Ellyzuh Lemus is a senior studying English.