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Drag queen book reading sparks protest outside downtown Edmonton library

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Drag queen book reading sparks protest outside downtown Edmonton library
A group protesting a drag queen book reading held by the library in downtown Edmonton prompted a large response from people in the LGBTQ+ community. Chris Chacon has the details – Aug 6, 2022

Protesters stood outside a section of the Stanley A. Milner library Saturday morning.

The group was protesting a drag queen book reading held by the library. The gathering prompted a large response from people in the LGBTQ+ community.

“You got drag queens reading inappropriate books to our children, you don’t need to be reading that, read them Dr. Seuss, read them green eggs and ham,” protester Hilarie Fortune said.

Read more: Edmonton mayor makes historic proclamation of Pride Corner on Whyte

Some protesters with signs abruptly entered the library to interrupt the event but eventually went back outside.

They were met with crowds of people from the LGBTQ+ community playing music and dancing.

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“They were basically saying that we, as the queer community and drag queens, are sexualizing drag queens and saying that we’re preying on children and that it’s predatory,” counter-protester Kayle Mackintosh said.

Something MLA and critic for status of women and 2SLGBTQ+ issues Janis Irwin said is not the case.

“There was a lovely drag queen named Felicia Bonée,” Irwin said. “I went in there and heard the stories, they were beautiful, they were lovely, so many kids with families that just really enjoyed it.”

But those who came to protest against the reading don’t see it that way.

“Why do the children need to know that? They don’t need to know that,” Fortune said. “They don’t even know what clothes they are going to put on for the day, let alone what sexuality they are going to be.”

Read more: LGBTQ youth need more supports and more say: Alberta child advocate

Regardless of opinion, Irwin said the actions demonstrated could have been done in a better way.

“They are welcome to protest, they absolutely are, that’s their right,” she said. “I would ask them to do it respectfully because it wasn’t fully respectful today.”

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Protesters said they as long as the readings continue, they will be back. And if that’s the case, so will song and dance brought on by crowds of people in the LGBTQ+ community.

“I don’t really understand the hate and the anger,” Irwin said. “But you know, I send them love and that’s the message I sent to some of them who were in my face earlier.”

Global New reached out to the library for comment but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

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