There’s been controversy surrounding a drag queen reading event that was held at the Wichita Public Library in September.
The library’s board of directors may create a policy after negative feedback from the event. A policy is in place for its materials like books and DVD’s, but not for programs.
At the Say YAAAS To Reading event in September, there was standing room only as drag queens read to a crowd of more than 100 people, a big turnout for an event that was the first of its kind in Wichita.
“Probably the 48 hours right before is when it started gaining negative attention,” said Brad Thomison, drag queen and event organizer. “It was a little less fun at that point because people were making some direct threats of violence and they were contacting me personally and saying some really hateful things.”
Thomison is also known as “Divinity Masters” and read to the crowd at the event.
He said the reading was to show everyone that they’re included, especially those in the LGBTQ community.
“We said the event was open to all ages and families, so the biggest contrary voice says children shouldn’t be exposed to this type of program.,” Thomison said. “I disagree with that completely with the way of thinking.”
According to the feedback in the library’s after-action review, 61 percent of those who attended said they are more likely to attend future events. But, not everyone agreed.
One email sent to the library said, “This is beyond disgusting and should not be happening at a public library.”
Another email said, “What you are exposing our children and grandchildren to is wrong. You are pushing an agenda.”
“Our staff has done a lot of research on other libraries,” said Cynthia Berner, director of libraries. “We’ve looked at policies where they exist and prepared that information for them.”
People on both sides will speak at the meeting.
Thomison said he hopes the message from those who created the event will be heard.
“Diversity is an important part of the city life,” Thomison said. “I think as we want Wichita to grow and become a better place for everyone, it has to truly be a better place for everyone.”
KSN reached out to those on the meeting’s agenda who will speak for the opposition. They either did not get back to us or did not want to go on-camera.
The meeting starts at noon at the Advanced Learning Library. It is open to the public.
For the library’s full after-action review from the event, click here.