COLORADO SPRINGS – An LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs is sponsoring Drag Queen Story Time at the Penrose Library this weekend.
‘I felt like Colorado Springs was a great place to have this because it would give another sense of acceptance ,’ said Joseph Shelton, the organizer behind the event.
Shelton was born and raised in Colorado Springs and is an openly gay man.
The event will feature Sarah Bellum, a local drag queen.
Many libraries across the country, especially in major cities, have started sponsored, regularly-scheduled events featuring drag queens reading stories to young children.
The Pikes Peak Library District points out the event at the Penrose Library is not a “library-sponsored program.”
A statement from PPLD reads in part, “If ever offered or sponsored, the program would be part of a larger exploration of diversity as well as contextualized for children and families in a broad frame of respect for individuality and difference.”
Club Q Colorado Springs is sponsoring the event with Drag Queen Sarah Bellum set to read books geared toward younger children and their families. The event is scheduled for this Saturday from 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at the Penrose Library in Colorado Springs.
Shelton adds “It is a public event for anyone to enjoy and we hope as many will come as possible despite the fact of hatred.”
According to PPLD, meeting rooms are made available to the public for use as long as the event does not violate their meeting room policy .
Section III of the policy covers equal opportunity:
Activities taking place in the meeting rooms must not be closed to any person due to age, gender, race, religion, national origin, disabling condition, or any other legally protected category.
The library is a public space. In accordance with our mission, we encourage all groups to use our meeting rooms. If the meeting is not advertised as being “open to the public,” groups using the meeting rooms have the right to limit attendance with the exception of legally protected categories. Library staff cannot be expected to enforce or ensure the privacy of any meeting.
Colorado Springs-based Family Policy Alliance, a policy partner of Focus on the Family, is encouraging people to contact city and county leaders with a pre-written message in opposition to the event. The Christian-based group’s efforts against the event appear to target the library district trustees, who are appointed.
Dear [Decision Maker],
It has come to my attention that the Pikes Peak Library District is hosting Drag Queen Story Time at the Penrose Library on September 1, 2018. I believe that pushing this agenda on kids is an affront to our community’s values and a waste of taxpayer resources.
Because the Board of El Paso County Commissioners and the Colorado Springs City Council choose the Board of Trustees that governs the PPLD, I am asking you to speak up and to take action to stop this highly inappropriate program from taking place.
‘Still to this day Drag Queens are considered adult entertainment and this is not something that should be in our local libraries, and parents have the right to not only be informed but let their officials know that this is not appropriate,’ said Brittany Jones, Policy Manager at Family Policy Alliance.
So what is Drag Queen Story Time?
Here’s a video telling the story of the program in New York.