March 25, 2019
"Why is everyone up in arms about Drag Queen story time?" Houston's organizers wanted to know in the city's magazine last December. Two weeks into the event's latest scandal -- which allowed an unvetted sex offender to read to little children -- Americans understand exactly why. Now, the protests are growing -- not just because these libraries are indoctrinating kids, but because they aren't even keeping them safe in the process.
"This isn't what we wanted," LGBT activists Trent Lira and Devon Will wrote to the city's families last week. "It is frustrating that the past conviction of a single performer now undermines the efforts of three dozen other drag kings and queens..." But "undermine" doesn't begin to describe what Montrose Library did by inviting Albert Garza to interface with kids without so much as a background check. "We assure you that this participant will not be involved in any future [Houston Public Library] programs," officials said.
That's partially because there's one less program to worry about. After the outcry from parents, the organizers have decided to end Drag Queen Story Time. In a lengthy article from Lira and Will, the duo explains that they're stepping aside, because they don't "believe in putting our friends, our families, and our children in danger." "We have so loved our drag queens and kings," they write. "That is why we are choosing to step away, to protect the lives and the livelihoods of the people we love. We want to serve the LGBT+ community, and we will. We will just have to do it another way."
To the Houston Area Pastors Council -- and families all around the city -- the announcement was long overdue. After months of calling on the mayor to intervene, it's a shame that it took something this drastic for the churches' concerns to be taken seriously. As Pastor Dave Welch points out, if the council hadn't been engaged, the libraries may not have had any standards for performers to begin with! Until they met with the mayor in September, library officials didn't have a single safeguard in place for age appropriateness or adult content.
Although there are some concerns that the city's LGBT activists will find a way to resurrect the Drag Queen hour at another location, parents can at least celebrate that they won a crucial battle with Houston officials -- who seem more interested in the sexual exploitation of children than their actual wellbeing.
If these absurd events are happening at your local library, take a page from the Houston Area Pastors Council and get involved. Help organize protests or contact city officials. Ask the local council to host a listening session with nearby families. No parent should have to worry about their children listening to a provocative story at a taxpayer-funded library!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.