Loussac Library's drag queen storytime draws detractors
Storytime for preschoolers at the Loussac Library may not sound like a controversial topic, but people have been complaining about an event where the readers are drag queens.
Drag queen storytimes are endorsed by the American Library Association, and like many libraries across the country the Loussac has hosted several.
Last week Jim Minnery, head of Christian group Alaska Family Action, sent an email to supporters in which he called the storytimes "alarming." The email condemned "using taxpayer funded public libraries to talk with impressionable young children about 'gender fluidity.'" He urged people to contact the library and ask that future events be canceled.
When KTVA asked Minnery for further comment, he responded that he was "too busy" for an interview or statement.
Torgeson said so far she's received 29 negative comments. Most, she said, express concern about normalizing what the senders see as deviant behavior.
But Torgeson says another campaign organized by Identity Inc., the non-profit that provides support to the LGBT community and which partners with the library for the storytimes, has generated a lot more support. Torgeson says she's gotten 87 emails and comments that are positive about the program.
She believes it's evidence that Anchorage is a tolerant city.
"The mayor and Assembly members have made Anchorage a welcoming community," said Torgeson. "And as part of that, it's (important to) get to know about other people and other communities. That's all this is about, getting to know your neighbor, hearing and understanding to develop more empathy."
Torgeson said the program isn't costing taxpayers anything because the library doesn't get public funds to pay for its programming. She said operational funds are raised by the nonprofit Friends of the Library group, adding that the drag queens are supplied for free by Identity Inc.
Torgeson said people who don't wish to have drag queens read to their children don't have to attend the events. Four more are scheduled for next year, starting in February.
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