Despite some complaints about its appropriateness for young audiences, organizers of an upcoming Drag Queen Story Hour at the Windsor-Severance Library said the event will continue as planned.
Sponsored by the Northern Colorado group SPLASH LGBTQIA-Youth, the children’s story hour will feature drag queens reading children’s books with inclusive storylines.
“The event is going to go on because it’s the right thing to do,” said SPLASH director Kimberly Chambers. “Having conversations with our young children about diversity — no matter what that looks like — is an important factor.”
Last week, the library announced the Jan. 12 event with a press release and began displaying posters advertising it. Dozens of residents spoke out for and against the event at a Clearview Library District Board meeting, according to the Greeley Tribune. Questions were raised about the appropriateness of the program, particularly regarding the story hour’s targeted age group — kids ages 2-8.
But Chambers said that’s exactly the age group that should be hearing this program’s message of inclusivity.
“Boys assigned at birth are saying they are girls or that they want to wear skirts, and vice versa,” Chambers said. “And so what we’re seeing is this need for resources and a little more equity in the world of gender expression for our youngest population.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most children have a stable sense of their gender identity by the age of four.
Chambers said, it's also important to help children understand that when other kids express their gender in a different way, that it’s normal and natural.
“We have LGBTQIA community members living around us all the time. We may not know that,” Chambers said. “And so that’s why it’s important for us to have that kind of programming in the public libraries where community members have access to learn more, to share with their families and to really participate in diversity and inclusion.”
This is the first time Drag Queen Story Hour has been brought to Northern Colorado libraries. The national program has been produced in other parts of the state, including Denver and Boulder. Chambers said she is currently working to bring events to Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley.