Last week, a drag queen story hour in Spokane, Washington was protested by a group of anti-LGBTI Christians. Now, one of the participating queens is speaking out.
Ahead of Spokane’s first drag queen story event, a panel discussion took place featuring two drag queens, two academics, and a minister was held. At this panel, the group discussed the event and answered questions.
On Saturday, 15 June, before the drag queen story event at Spokane Public Library, a group of protesters gathered to condemn the event. This led to a Baptist pastor getting arrested for his participation. The pastor, Afshin Yaghtin, was taken into custody for obstructing a police officer. He was released on bond on Monday.
Spokane Police Sergeant Terry Preuninger said Yaghtin was given numerous opportunities to stay in the designated protest zone. However, he kept antagonizing LGBTI counter protesters by insisting he just wanted access to the library.
Despite the protest, another drag queen story hour is scheduled at the library for today (22 June).
Drag queen Katie Rockswell speaks out
Local NBC News affiliate KHQ spoke with Katie Rockswell, one of the drag queens who participated in the event at the South Hill branch of Spokane Public Library.
For Rockswell, drag is ‘all about love and laughs.’
‘As soon as you put on that wig, or you see the lights on the stage, it’s showtime, I’m ready to go,’ Rockswell said.
Rockswell has been doing drag for years, but this Pride month, she wanted to embrace the trend of drag queens reading storybooks to kids. However, this act was soon tarnished by angry anti-LGBTI people sending her threatening emails.
‘I was scared the first time I saw those messages come through. “Katie Rockswell, you’re a pedophile”. I’m like, do you even know me,’ she said.
Still, Rockswell decided to go ahead and participate in the event anyway.
‘Pride is a protest, it’s not just rainbows and unicorns. We’re protesting for something we don’t have. We still don’t have full equality,’ Rockswell stated.
Rockswell wishes that people would have reached out to her with questions instead of criticizing her and the event on social media.
‘I don’t mind fighting, but I get tired. All the fighting just leads to everybody being tired,’ Rockswell said.
‘These are the kids, these are our future, why are we showing them hate, when we can show love,’ she said.