SPOKANE, Wash. - The South Hill Library's Drag Queen Story Hour has divided Spokane, but now, those on both sides of the debate agree that it's gone too far. Protesters and organizers say the event has stirred up so much controversy, they're getting death threats.
"They have called me every single vulgar and vile name there is," said Anna Bohach, who has spoken out against the idea of drag queens reading to kids. "It makes me realize that I am more correct than ever. That drag is based on a misogyny that is deep within, you know, that community."
Anna believes drag has no place at the Spokane Public Library.
"It teaches young boys that men make better women than women and it teaches young girls that the only way for them to be validated as a woman is if they dress in a provocative and sexual way," she said,before equating drag to blackface.
That's why she created 500 Mom Strong, a group that's planning to protest Saturday's event. It's a decision that's been met with criticism and comments she sees as death threats. Someone on Facebook wrote they could easily find her address before adding Anna is a terrorist and "should be dealt with accordingly."
"It makes me want to have the protest even more," said Anna.
But Andrea Tate, the organizer of Drag Queen Story Hour, believes it's no different than any other story time, because it's all about the kids.
"It's not making fun of women. It's a celebration of femininity and it's casting off the stereotypical gender roles that are pressed onto us," Andrea said, before adding drag is not comparable to blackface. "This is about creating a space for kids that need that space."
She says the debate over drag queens reading to those kids is taking away from that mission.
"I absolutely hate any kind of violence or threat of violence, anything like that, regardless of who's saying it," Andrea said. "If the protest hadn't began as an attack on the event, saying 'drag is misogyny,' 'drag is blackface,' all of this stuff attacking it, then I feel that maybe the conversation would have been a little more easy to have gotten into."
Andrea believes no one is blameless in this controversy. She said she came across a comment on Facebook saying some drag queens will land in the hospital this weekend, which she believes is setting the wrong example for the kids at the center of this debate.
"If these kids are walking away from this thinking that these adults have failed them, or that you know, there was too much anger or hatred being spewed, then I think we've failed," Andrea said.
The Spokane Public Library will be hosting a panel on this very topic at the downtown library Thursday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Both Drag Queen Story Hour and the 500 Mom Strong protest are scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. at the South Hill Library.
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