DES MOINES, Washington — Police, protesters and pride flooded the entryway to the Des Moines Public Library on Monday in response to the first Drag Queen Story Hour.
“I believe that with all my heart what is happening today is that children are being led astray,” said one protester.
Monday’s performer, whose stage name is Cookie Couture, was reading a children's book titled Neither.
“The core of it is all about celebrating what makes us different,” Couture said.
This celebration of difference drew more than 200 parents and children.
“I would say that more overwhelmingly is the response from the LBGTQ community and as you see today, the hundreds of parents that were here with their children. If anything, they have rallied more than the opposition has,” said Julie Acteson, Director of Community Relations for the King County Library System.
Des Moines mom Emily Meyer and her child were two supporters in attendance.
“We support Drag Queen Story Hour. We want it to keep happening in our community and we know how important it is, especially during Pride Month,” Meyer said.
This is the second of four events in King County this month. The program was organized by local librarians.
“I don’t want my tax dollars going to this,” said Chris Blough, a Tacoma resident. “Why impose this lifestyle on a child? Children will grow up and learn their own opinions all by themselves, there is no reason for this,” Blough continued.
King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove disagrees.
“Libraries have always been a bastion of free expression and I am proud that the King County Library System remains a self and welcoming space for everyone,” Upthegrove said.
“I am proud of who I am. I am proud of what I am doing, and I am proud of everybody that came out today,” Couture said.