Thank you so much for addressing the issue of Mobile’s first Drag Queen Story Hour in the August 29 issue. In my opinion, Rainbow Mobile demonstrated great courage and foresight in bringing this program to our little corner of the world. Sure, they could have gone about it differently but, at least, they made the attempt to broaden our city’s worldview. I certainly appreciate you pointing out that this is a nation-wide program and that attendance is optional. I have to agree with your statement that many of those who are upset about it haven’t set foot in a public library in quite some time. But, it would be foolish of us to presume that the basis of their discomfort is in a perceived waste of public funding or lack of institutional control by the Mobile Public Library System.
Oh no, the real basis of their objections more likely lies in their own narrow-mindedness and intolerance. It is ironic that these same people enjoy a bit of gender-bending if it is cached in a popular movie like Mrs. Doubtfire where Robin Williams’ character READS to children while dressed in drag. Those Christian groups who oppose the event seem to want to pick and choose where they are willing to welcome the “other.” It is shameful that they opt to teach their children to follow in their footsteps rather than to reach out in love to those who are different from themselves as Jesus did.
Like you, I object to children being used as pawns in anyone’s agenda. I have been reluctant to throw my support behind this event for this very reason. But, my concern for the welfare of those families that choose to participate has moved me to act. I will be standing in silent support for them on the day of the event. If my presence spares them from being subjected to hateful words or actions by those who oppose the message of tolerance and inclusion, it will have been a worthwhile effort.
I would also like to take issue with your declaration that it is unlikely that a “drag queen is going to pop into church next Sunday and start reading passages from Romans or belting out ‘Just As I Am’.” At Cornerstone MCC, we preach what Jesus preached. That is a message of God’s unconditional love for ALL people. So, if you are a drag queen, do WE have a church for YOU! For 50 years, MCC has been open to ALL people, and we welcome drag queens, female impersonators, LGBTQ people of all walks of life to join us “just as you are.” You will find a place of affirmation where you can participate in all aspects of worship.
Rev. Sara Sills
With regard to the controversy surrounding the “Drag Queen Story Hour” event, please note the following about the statement posted by the Mobile Public Library on its Facebook page.
The first two sentences of the statement are all that needed to have been said and the statement should have stopped there.
“The Drag Queen Story Time is not a Mobile Public Library sponsored event, and neither the Mobile Public Library nor the Friends of the Library have provided any monetary funds toward the program. Rainbow Mobile is sponsoring the Drag Queen Story Hour.”
The next sentence of the statement constitutes an endorsement of the event.
“As with all outside organizations’ programs, we hope their event is well attended
helpful and entertaining to those in attendance.”
Such a “program” certainly does not need to be “well attended,” is considered harmful rather than “helpful,” and such a program does not constitute “entertainment” appropriate for children.
The last portion of the statement is defensive and an in-your-face insult to the taxpayers and citizens.
“This event, like many others, is open to all. MPL has nine other branch libraries you can visit if you prefer not to visit the Ben May Main Library on September 8.”
The statement reveals that the MPL appears to be oblivious to the fact that this event is not like “many others” and completely misses the point that it is the harmfulness of the event to children that is the focus of the objection.
Being legally required to allow use of the room in understandable. But endorsing the event, being insensitive to the community standards of Mobile, adopting elitist standards which are apparently believed to be superior, and showing contempt for the objectors (if you don’t like it just don’t attend) disqualifies for service to the citizens of Mobile. Each City Council member should reassess his appointment to the Library Board and replace his appointment with someone knowledgeable and respectful of community standards in Mobile – not San Francisco.
The manner in which the controversy was handled by the MPL is an outrage to the citizens whose taxes support the library system and bring to mind the words of Thomas Paine in “Common Sense,” “…….our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”
Mobile, AL 36608