In an effort to promote diversity and inclusion within the community and to promote their libraries as safe and welcoming spaces for everyone to have access to books, programs and educational services, the Henderson Public Library began to host “A Drag Queen Storytime” this summer. The first was held last month at the Paseo Verde Library and the second was held this past Saturday at the Green Valley branch. This program originated in 2015 in San Francisco to great success and inspired many cities both urban and rural to launch similar events. The event is simply the gathering of families and their children to hear stories read by a featured drag performer which teach acceptance, learning how to make good choices, the evils of bullying as well as the art of being nice to other people and supporting diversity.
Representatives of Equality Nevada attended yesterday’s event along with other organizations to support the event and to maintain a positive presence at the event as individuals who were not in favor of the event came to protest with anti LGBTQ signs. At first there was a lone protestor who was joined by three others as the start time of the event approached. A security guard and library staff worked to maintain a separation between the supporters and the small group of protestors who loudly shouted derogatory insults and condemned the attendees as they walked into the library. The supporters applauded the attendees and waved them inside and offered words of encouragement while drowning out the voices of the opposition, personally for me and my husband, we felt our adrenalin rise as we worked hard along with the other supporters to maintain a level of civility and composure as children were present. There was spirited communication between the supporters and the opposition and sadly we had to hug people driven to tears at the spectacle of the situation.
Fortunately, there was a Metro police to ensure that the protest did not turn violent and that sadly was a distinct possibility as tensions between the two groups was on the cusp of turning ugly. For this writer, I was proud to stand with my husband, friends and allies of our community to ensure that hatred and intolerance would not win on that hot August afternoon. This event was held to promote tolerance and the value of celebrating diversity, there was nothing pornographic about the material presented, although the protestors would try to convince otherwise. The goal of this event like all the others being held across the country is simply to promote and teach the value and importance of diversity, inclusion and the power of community. Simply put, if children are taught these values at a young age, it will surely curtail bullying, foster love for each other and bring about positive change so that everyone can live their best selves without fear of repercussions and in this day and age of explicit hatred and intolerance, the world requires love, after all love trumps hate and should always win, any other outcome will be the death of our existence.