Montreal drag queen to host library story time after borough reverses decision

Drag queen Barbada reading in front of Kindergarten children at the Dorval Library. Facebook: Dorval Library

After the event was pulled without explanation, a popular Montreal performer will host drag queen story time at two local libraries this coming fall.

Sébastien Potvin, who performs as Barbada de Barbades, will read to children after all at a pair of libraries in Montreal’s St-Laurent borough on Nov. 5.

The borough issued a statement Monday to say borough council had met with Barbada to discuss the activity, which Mayor Alan DeSousa said was “enriching for everyone.” De Sousa said the council will “always encourage and respect all forms of art and creativity.”

“We’re always looking for ways to improve the services we offer families and children in particular,” he said. “We are therefore delighted to be able to welcome Barbada to St-Laurent under the best possible conditions.”

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In July, the drag queen story time was cancelled but Barbada was invited to meet with the borough the next month.  At the time, the performer said she was confident the borough council would allow the event to go ahead once they realize that it is age-appropriate and has a positive message.

Potvin has been performing as Barbada for children in libraries and schools since 2016, with the goal to teach children that it is OK to be different. Barbada has also been on the reality competition show Call Me Mother, on OUTtv, and hosts the children’s show Barbada on Radio-Canada.

Earlier this year, Barbada read to children in the Montreal suburb of Dorval. While the reaction was mostly positive, there were complaints about the event. The activity went ahead, but with police present.

In a statement, Barbada said she was happy to have spoken with the St-Laurent borough council, adding “it’s important to answer questions in order to avoid any and all misunderstandings.”

“I’m delighted to be able to offer it in St-Laurent this fall. The main objective is to give children a taste for reading, while discovering the wealth of differences,” Barbada said.

— with files from Global News’ Julie Turcotte and The Canadian Press

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Guest speaker sparks controversy at Dorval Library

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