On Saturday, April 28, two individuals who identified themselves as part of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property protested a Drag Queen Story Hour event at Little City Books in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Drag Queen Story Hours, during which drag queens read stories to children in an effort to, as the organization’s website explains, “give kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models,” have been held at bookstores, schools, and libraries around the country. The program aims to provide children with spaces to “see people who defy gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish.”
According to the Jersey Journal, the protestors stood outside the bookstore before and during the story time, which featured the founder of the North Jersey chapter of Drag Queen Story Hour, Harmonica Sunbeam. The protestors held signs that read “God made them male and female” and “Honk to protect our children.”
“It saddens me that people think it’s okay to bring their negative energy to a positive event and, at the same time, act as if they are concerned about the well-being of the children,” Sunbeam told Hoboken Patch.
Following the incident, many politicians and community members spoke out in support of Little City Books and Drag Queen Story Hour. According to Hoboken Patch, Hoboken City Councilmember Mike DeFusco stated, “We should be teaching children to embrace diversity and acceptance, not spreading hateful rhetoric that aims to set us back on the strides we have made to get closer to full equality.”
Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bahlla also spoke out about the protest and noted that “Hoboken is and always will be an inclusive and welcoming place that is accepting of all identities, sexuality, and gender expression.”
According to Hoboken Patch, Councilmember DeFusco and the Hudson County LGBTQ Caucus plan to host a “drag queen breakfast” on Saturday, June 1, to kick off Pride Month.
This protest is not the first time that Drag Queen Story Hour has been met with resistance; Bookselling This Week previously reported on an incident with an anti-LGBTQ protestor who disrupted a story hour held at Cellar Door Books in October.