Drag Queen Story Hour backlash in Warren County NJ

Warren County Public Library Independence branch
Warren County Public Library Independence branch

Independence Township Public Library had to cancel the event

Drag Queen Story Hours at local libraries and bookstores are increasingly popular, especially during LGBT Pride month. However, citizens of Warren County New Jersey had other ideas. Many took the time to clog the phone lines of the northeast branch of the county library system with complaints.

Lady Keyonta, Miss Gay New Jersey 2017
Lady Keyonta, Miss Gay New Jersey 2017

For two days, citizens demanded that the Drag Queen Story Hour immediately be cancelled, something that surprised the library and the library commission.

“My thought for doing this was basically to acknowledge Pride Month,” Adam Petroski, manager of the Independence Township branch, said. “I thought a story hour would be as innocuous a thing as we could do. I’m frustrated that it’s an issue. I’m frustrated that it happened. I don’t blame the library commission. I think they were caught off guard.”

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The Story Hour, originally scheduled for June 15, 2019 was cancelled in late May. It’s a simple concept, with a drag queen reading a story to children. According to The Drag Queen Story Hour website, the events vary, and can also include sing-a-longs and crafts. The Warren County Story Hour was to have been led by Lady Keyonta, Miss Gay New Jersey 2017.

“I feel like we didn’t serve a portion of our community that deserves it, especially during pride month,” Sandy Roberts, a county library system employee, said. “I think that’s quashing freedom of speech and giving in to bigotry. I’m OK if people have differences of opinion, but we’re a public space.”