Gerritsen Beach

Counter-protest planned in support of Gerritsen Beach drag queen story hour

June 6, 2019 Meaghan McGoldrick
Drag Queen Rev. Yolanda performs at a Drag Queen Story Hour. Photo by Edwina Hay/DQSH
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In response to an organized outcry against the Gerritsen Beach Library’s first iteration of Drag Queen Story Hour, other residents have planned a counter-protest to show their support for the event, which is taking place this afternoon.

Drag Queen Story Hour is a worldwide program that invites drag queens to read to kids and teens at libraries, schools, museums and other community spaces. It aims to provide “glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models,” according to the program’s website.

[The counter-protest is scheduled to start outside the branch at 12:30 p.m. — a half an hour prior to opponents’ meeting time.]

As the Gerritsen Avenue branch of the Brooklyn Public Library began advertising its first local installment of the story hour, outraged neighbors started pushing a flyer of their own.

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The leaflet – seen scattered throughout Gerritsen Beach as well as posted to various neighborhood Facebook groups – encourages locals to “stand today or we fall tomorrow,” and calls for protesters to convene at the branch one hour prior to today’s event, through to its scheduled end at 3 p.m. The storytime, starring drag queen Angel Elektra, is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

The protest flyer. Image via Facebook

Objectors (who mainly take issue with the event’s suggested age bracket, 0-5) say the “tax payer funded attack on our babies” aims to “groom children into the transgender lifestyle.”

Despite backlash, the Brooklyn Public Library has said that the show will go on and, as tensions continue to mount, southern Brooklyn residents from Gerritsen Beach and beyond have begun to organize in support.

An official counter-protest titled “Hate Has No Home at the Gerritsen Library!” is scheduled to start outside the branch at 12:30 p.m. — a half an hour prior to opponents’ meeting time. “Let’s show Ms. Elektra that she is welcome here in South Brooklyn and we support the public library’s program. Bring your children along and please help to spread the word by inviting others,” reads a description for the rally on Facebook.

Meanwhile, several neighborhoods over in Bay Ridge, a group of residents have hired a van to take supporters to the branch.

An event on Facebook dubbed “Drag Queen Story Hour Support Bus,” encourages those supporters in need of a ride to meet at Cocoa Grinder (8511 Third Ave.) at 12:15 p.m. A GoFundMe page has been set up to cover travel costs.

Backers are encouraged to come (with or without kids) ready to make posters – and in their most “fabulous,” colorful attire.

For Bay Ridge resident Maya Murad, who helped organize the support bus, the cause is personal. Murad said she brought her son to America from a country where homosexuality is illegal. “How quickly he accepted that I’m gay, and loved my former partner, too,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle.

“I want to tell youngsters, not everyone is born the same. They still have to love themselves and each other and shine brightly,” she said. “Kids need to be taught tolerance.”

“Our apologies for the last minute notice, but sometimes you have to mobilize the last minute,” reads a description on the fundraising page. “I call that an emergency response and it is definitely an emergency when our fabulous drag queens are being ostracized. During Pride Heritage Month (of all the times).”

Gerritsen Beach Library is located at 2808 Gerritsen Ave.

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