An estimated 500 people showed up to attend a San Francisco-based Drag Queen Story Hour on Monday, 11 February.
This huge gathering at the Brentwood Community Center showed support for the event after a small group of anti-LGBTI protesters deemed the event ‘inappropriate’ for children.
Contra Costa County Libraries, who hosted this event, was not expecting such a huge turnout. At the event, drag queen Bella Aldama read children’s stories to the youngest guests.
‘The Contra Costa County Library is proud of the event,’ spokeswoman Brooke Converse told SFGate. ‘Our mission is about bringing people and ideas together. We want to be representative and inclusive of everyone in our very diverse county and community.’
Yet, unfortunately, some members of the community were not thrilled about this type of event, hence the protest. When East County Today, a local East Bay website, posted news of the event they were bombarded with Facebook comments — some of which were positive, but many of which were critical.
‘I never received this response in the other events,’ Aldama told KTVU at the time. ‘I have never seen so many negative comments in one day.’
Considering many iterations of Drag Queen Story Hour have gone on for months both in California and across the country, it is unclear why this particular event received so much controversy.
Nevertheless, Converse said that most of the feedback before the 11 February event was supportive.
‘The biggest surprise has been how much positive feedback we’ve received,’ she told KTVU. ‘For every negative comment, there have been multiple comments in support.
Still, the negative comments were enough for the Brentwood police department to provide six uniformed officers to oversee the event. Thankfully, though, everything ran smoothly.
The Successful Event
Aldama was able to brush off the negative vibes, too.
‘There is nothing wrong with reading a children’s book that display diversity and different gender identities,’ Aldama told East County Today at the event. ‘We are all different, and everyone deserves respect and love. We are not trying to teach or brainwash anybody. Drag is just a form of gender expression.’
Watch a video from the event below: