Drag Queens read books to children amidst outside bluster

Chula Vista police stood between barricades separating protestors and supporter s of drag queens reading to children at the Chula Vista library Tuesday. (Eaton)

Inside the Chula Vista Civic Center Library on Tuesday drag queens Raquelita and Barbie Q read stories to children while flocks of supporters and opponents faced off outside, divided by orange barricades and police officers.

Supporters waved pride and transgender flags with signs that read “books not bigotry” while opponents held signs with Biblical quotes condemning homosexuality and claiming that drag queens and kids shouldn’t mix.

Ultimately, Chula Vista mayor Mary Salas, who attended Drag Queen Story Time to show her support for the program, said she’s happy with the outpouring of love she saw at the event.

“I was really happy to see so many young families, mothers and fathers that took their children to an amazing story hour that was very positive and loving and age appropriate,” Salas said.

The stories the drag queens read were “Julian is a Mermaid” by Jessica Love and “It’s Okay to be Different” by Todd Parr, both of which included themes encouraging love and acceptance.

When people contacted her with their concerns, Salas said she told them to look into the stories that were being read to better understand what was actually going to be happening at the library.

“The children that were there were at a certain age where their imaginations just carry them away, and they didn’t see anything that was out of bounds all they saw were cartoon-like characters,” Salas said.

Steve Padilla, whose office organized the “Love Demonstration” outside the library in collaboration with San Diego PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), said he was also pleased with the turnout overall.

“I felt very good about it, I was very moved,” Padilla said. “What was pretty obvious if you look at nearly 300 participants that attended was that most of them were from our community.”

Including the people that were inside the library watching Drag Queen Story Time, and the people outside participating in the Love Demonstration, it appeared that there were more supporters than opponents present.

“I think that hate sometimes comes with a smile on its face and for some people its disguised and wrapped around God and I think that makes it even worse,” Padilla said.

At the City Council meeting following Drag Queen Story Time, some residents expressed their disapproval of Drag Queen Story Hour, including Chula Vista resident Nita Hodges.

“It seems to me that there would be so many people more qualified and more acceptable to our general population who could have been chosen for this event,” Hodges said. “As a mother, grandmother and great grandmother I felt I should express my opposition to this event.”

Danielle Hoffman, a homeschooling mother that regularly goes to the Otay Ranch location, commended Mayor Salas for all of her accomplishments, but said ultimately Salas’ approval of Drag Queen Story Time will lead to her downfall.

“You trade the souls of our children for votes and likes among a group of individuals that openly celebrates sexual perversion and satanic practices, because of this the people will vote you out of office and dethrone you,” Hoffman said.

The council meeting also drew people from outside of Chula Vista who came to voice their concerns, including El Cajon resident Allison Smith.

“Jesus said that whoever causes one of these little ones to be scandalized it would be better for him to have a millstone put around his neck and cast into the sea,” Smith said.

“Any of you who are sitting here on the dias who claim to be Christian and who didn’t try to stop this and who did not condemn it need to remember what our Lord said about this.”
Lizzie Lechner, a 25-year-old Chula Vista native, thanked city council for their support of Drag Queen Story Hour.

“As a Christian I was raised to love everyone the way that they choose to be, and as I reflect on Suicide Awareness Month I believe that the hate that has been spread regarding this program does not reflect the love that we owe everyone as a Christian,” Lechner said.