Hundreds of protestors descended on the Missouri state capitol over the weekend to protest a Republican bill that could imprison librarians who host a drag queen story hour or allow youth to check out books on LGBTQ topics. The event was led by drag queens and librarians.
Drag queens, who don’t usually back down from bullies, planned a massive protest and put out the call for queens from around the nation to join them “to show Ben Baker and the legislature this kind of bill is just bad policy.” And that’s exactly what they did.
Joined by progressive organizations around the state, the queens brought a salty attitude and children’s books to the capitol steps. They chanted, read books to kids, and made salty speeches.
In short, like with any good drag show, the attendees enjoyed themselves.
More than 50 children were at the event, but parents had to erect rainbow umbrellas next to them to block their view of religious right protestors across the street.
“We want to emphasize a love of reading and a love of learning to kids,” Pasha Eve, co-founder of the Parasol Patrol, said. The group brings the giant umbrellas to events that would draw protest from the religious right.
“It is a way to learn how to interact with different people from all different walks of life.”
The proposed law would also prohibit “age inappropriate sexual material” in public libraries. “Age inappropriate material” is classified as, “any description or representation… of nudity, sexuality, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse.”
Baker denies that his legislation would ban the books since they would be moved to a “restricted” area of the library, he doesn’t deny that his motivation is the recent “drag queen story hour” trend that has performers reading age-appropriate books to children.
“The main thing is, I want to be able to take my kids to a library and make sure they’re in a safe environment, and that they’re not gonna be exposed to something that is objectionable material,” Baker told a local news station. “Unfortunately, there are some libraries in the state of Missouri that have done this. And that’s a problem.”
“In some places – St. Louis, Kansas City and I think St. [Joseph] – they’ve had these drag queen story hours and that’s something that I take objection to and I think a lot of parents do,” Baker said to the Kansas City Star. “That’s where in a public space, our kids could be exposed to something that’s age-inappropriate. That’s what I’m trying to tackle.”
The bill has not been assigned to a committee and isn’t expected to pass following national outrage.