Local Drag Queen Story Hour sparks controversy

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SPARKS, NV (KOLO) - The Sparks library is hosting Drag Queen Story Hour Saturday. This nationwide program has caused local controversy involving the City of Sparks Mayor. The national trend has Mayor Ron Smith opposed to the idea. According to the Reno Gazette Journal (RGJ) Mayor Smith tried to cancel Saturday’s event.

According to the RGJ, Smith said, "It is absolutely ridiculous. Why would you have transgender people talking to kids?"

The RGJ said Smith raised concerns of drag queen storytellers possibly taking off their clothes. The report also said Smith raised other concerns of drag queens in other cities not getting background checks or committing crimes against children.

In light of Reno Pride kick-off next week, LGBTQ activist and a partner with Carl’s the Saloon Ron Svasek disagrees with the mayor. He said, "I love our Mayor for many things and many reasons, but I would have to disagree with that."

Svasek continued, "They more likely view those drag queens as cartoon characters or an artist, or a princess, or whatever that drag queen tends to dress like, as I understand many of the outfits, that are worn tie in to the stories that are being read, so in a way it's a matter of creating an illusion and I don't think it matters what someone is dressed like."

Washoe County Library Director Jeff Scott said the event will not be canceled. Scott said they received more positive than negative feedback from the community in regards to the event.

In a statement he wrote, “Our very innovative team watches national and local trends to constantly find new ways to engage and benefit our community. Our team introduced the idea of a Drag Queen Story Hour into our Program Proposal process and it was then reviewed by our entire team. Sparks Librarians decided to host this program.”

Scott continued, “Drag Queen Story Hour is a popular program that has recently been adopted by libraries across the country. We hope that events like these will encourage inclusivity with everyone in our community."

The Nevada Family Alliance currently has a petition to stop the Drag Queen Story Hour at Washoe County Libraries. The organization’s Executive Director, Karen England said, “Supporting and promoting drag queens and gay pride is political activism that citizens are free to engage in on their own time and representing their own selves, utilizing privately owned facilities. Community-owned public spaces and commissioner-appointed library boards are not the place for ideological activism. Nevada Family Alliance stands with Nevada individuals and families who don't want their local community library putting on events which are incongruous with their deeply held values. "Drag Queen Story Hour" features grown men wearing extravagant women's clothing and make-up. The Nevadans who have reached out to us in alarm about this event believe strongly that it is not OK for our tax-funded, publicly owned spaces to be giving our kids the message that men behaving in such a manner is just "diversity," and that if any person disapproves of adults making these kinds of choices, that person is "non-inclusive." The library board will also be formally participating in the gay pride parade. There are ideas we can all get behind. No one would object to a library event about Hot August Nights or Nevada Day. Why would the library wish to orchestrate such a provocative event that so many in the community object to?”

We reached out to the City of Sparks, but no comment was provided.

The Drag Queen Story Hour starts at 10:15 a.m.

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