A few hundred people were gathered outside of Coquitlam, B.C.’s public library for a Drag Queen Story Time event for kids.
Dozens of protesters against the event were met by hundreds of LGBTQ+ supporters. They were face-to-face outside the library Saturday around 10 a.m.
Global News caught some heated action on camera as some protesters and activists got into some pushing matches before police arrived on scene.
Supporters were heard chanting, “There is no harm,” at the protesters and loud Disney music was playing over speakers.
“It makes me really happy to see so many people come out and support diversity and inclusion,” said Jessica Lane, an LGBTQ+ supporter.
“These protesters… I honestly don’t think they understand. It is not about sexualizing children, it’s about expressing you can be who you need to be.”
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A protester gave his opinion on why he opposed the event but refused to provide his name.
He was carrying a large rainbow flag sporting the words, “Gays against Groomers.”
“What we consider progress might be too far over the line,” he told Global News.
“We are now trying to push gender identities and ideologies onto children.”
The event was organized by “The Unstoppable” Conni Smudge, who shared her thoughts on the day.
“The reason we are here is because I really want to spread joy and understanding,” she said.
“I grew up in the 70s and I didn’t have a place to belong. Libraries were always a place for me. It was a nice comfy place I could read and it was a place where I felt I belonged.”
When Smudge saw the protesters for her event, she decided to focus more on the supporters.
“I couldn’t hear the haters, I couldn’t feel the haters,” she said.
“We built this bubble of love today, I saw friends from high school and elementary school. People came from all over to support.”
A Coquitlam Public Library official told Global News the event is the second drag story time it has held. Saturday’s event was much bigger than the first, according to the official.
“What it shows to me is that our community and the communities around us really resonate with the conversation of diversity and inclusion and we are happy to provide a space for it,” said Samantha Wink, Coquitlam Public Library’s communication manager.
“We did have discussions with both sides. We always welcome open discussions as a public organization and an organization that values free speech and knowledge. We invited all community members to either meet with us or send in their concerns.”
A few Coquitlam RCMP officers arrived at the scene, but after the physical confrontations were witnessed.