After months of debate on both sides, the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library hosted Drag Queen Story Hour Saturday morning.
Hundreds of people took part while many protested outside. The event generated a lot of controversy, but the library moved forward with the event despite many calling for it to be canceled.
“As they say in the drag world, it’s showtime,” said drag queen performer Florintine Dawn.
EVPL stood their ground and held the event for crowds totaling almost 300 children and guardians.
“Libraries are for everyone and our doors and our services are for everyone in the community,” said EVPL CEO Cyndee Landrum. “In addition to teaching this idea of diversity, inclusion and equitable services, I think it’s a lesson around community around civic engagement.”
More than 150 were turned away due to capacity.
“I thought it would be a good experience for them they love reading,” said one parent who brought her kids.
Adults and kids filled a room at the North Park Branch as Dawn read three of her favorite childhood books. She says no distraction could get in her way.
“Hearing this outside to me means nothing to me, it’s just a regular day,” she said as protestors made sure their voices were heard just feet away. “I had people text me be safe, are you sure you want to do this.”
But aside from the controversy, Dawn says she never doubted herself and the ability to teach a very important lesson, “When I get to a goal to stick to it until I made it, til I make it complete so this is a goal complete.”
“I hope that everyone realizes it’s ok to be you and be yourself,” said a child who attended the event.
“I had one little boy come up to me and said it’s okay to be who you want to be so I was very happy to see that,” said Dawn.
Library officials released a statement saying at this time there are no additional Drag Queen Story Hour events planned.
They added they will evaluate feedback to determine if a similar event would be held in the future.