FALL RIVER (CBS) – There were strong words for local drag queens reading stories to children at the Fall River Public Library Saturday afternoon. “We believe that they are indoctrinating systematically our kids into a culture that can be very dangerous,” said Pastor Michael Johnson of the Baptist Temple Church in Fall River.
Sam O’Connor, a mother to 1-year-old Betty, feels different. “It’s no different than going to see a Disney Princess,” O’Connor said. “I just want to raise Betty with tolerance for everyone, no matter what.”
Police stood guard at the library’s first-ever ‘Drag Queen Storytime’ which attracted more than 200 supporters – who faced critics outside.
Inside the packed room, it was all smiles, as kids and some parents were mesmerized by their guest reader, Naomi Chomski’s appearance.
The event that aims to capture the imagination of kids was not welcomed by all. Library Administrator Liane Verville says the library was flooded with hate emails and calls. “I was very surprised, because Fall River is a very diverse community, and I thought people were very accepting here,” Verville said. “Most of the calls I did get were all religious based, but they weren’t even Fall River residents.”
In fact, similar events were canceled at other New England libraries. But in Fall River, despite attitudes outside – inside — it was all about reading and learning.
Nine-year-old, third grader, Orianna Youd told WBZ, “It just felt amazing.” Orianna said having a drag queen read to her was fun.
Naomi Chomski had one message for critics: “No matter how you identify, you’re pronouns deserve to be respected. Your identity deserves to be respected.”
Due to the outpouring of support, the Fall River Library says they look forward to hosting more Drag Queen Storytime readings for kids.