RAHWAY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There’s a controversy brewing at a New Jersey public library after a drag queen led a children’s story time.
As CBS2’s Crystal Bui reports, opinions were mixed about the different voice, and look, at Rahway Public Library.
“I think it’s fantastic to teach, to expose kids at an early age to something a little different so as they grow up it’s not a big deal,” attendee Seth Feld said.
Enter, Harmonica Sunbeam. Harmonica is a man dressed as a woman who reads to kids as part of the library’s “Drag Queen Story Hour” program. While it isn’t a required event, the fact that it’s held in a public library has drawn ire from some members of the community.
“It would just be confusing on their brain at a young age,” Rahway resident Jason Johnson said. “A man, dressed as a woman, reading books to kids. It just trips up their mind at a young age. I wouldn’t want my child to be confused with something like that at a young age.”
Flyers protesting the program were posted around town, reading “This event seeks to confuse kids as young as preschool age by presenting a feminine – or semi-feminine – looking person with a masculine voice.”
Nevertheless, the show went on as planned. Some in town say they were glad the event wasn’t cancelled.
“There was no issue until we saw people posting, like, ‘why is this happening?’,” Rahway resident Victoria Muresan said. “Why do you care? Like, if you don’t like it then don’t go.”
For the children whose parents did decide to go, they weren’t bothered by who was reading the books or how he was dressed.
“I think the biggest thing that made me want to come and visibly be a supporter was some of the ugly pushback,” one woman said. “I just thought as a person who’s committed to my city and committed to the things that we do, I want to be here and I want to be here and I want to support.”
The reading program travels from city to city across the country.