Despite past controversy, drag queen reading continues as private event

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The first drag queen reading event since the controversy after last year’s program is being held as a private event at the Wichita Public Library put on by local organizations.

The Center of Kansas, an organization that offers resources and educational tools for the LGBTQ community, is hosting HalloQueen Story Time.

Courtesy: The Center of Wichita

“We thought it was really nice to mash up with Halloween with wearing costumes and getting dressed up,” said Brent Kennedy, chairman of The Center of Kansas.

While organizers are aware of the past controversy surrounding Say YAAAS to Reading, they aren’t afraid of backlash for this event. But, they said they do hope it helps raise awareness.

“I hope they don’t have a problem with kids reading,” said Kennedy. “If they don’t like people wearing costumes, then that’s not liking Halloween. That is okay, you can have that opinion, but you don’t have to go.”

Library officials were not available for an interview but said the difference between the first drag queen reading event and this one is HalloQueen Story Time is considered a meeting room rental and a private event instead of a library program. A private event doesn’t carry the same strict guidelines as a program.

The Wichita Public Library Board of Directors has spent months drafting a program policy and some believe that effort came because of the last reading event, although directors have said publicly the two are unrelated. Dozens of community members have spoken at public board of directors meetings for and against the events and drafting of a policy.

The GLSEN Kansas Chapter has been helping get the word out about HalloQueen Story Time and Liz Hamor, director, released this statement to KSN:

“For some kids (and adults), it allows them to see themselves reflected in society; to know they’re not alone in the world. Whether functioning as a window or a mirror, these events are a fabulous way to undo gender norms and validate the gender exploration that is already normal for kids.”

HalloQueen Story Time is from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Advanced Learning Library in Wichita. It is not a library sponsored event.

To read the Wichita Public Library Programming Policy, click here.

To read the guidelines for private meeting room events, click here.

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