As Pride month continues, so do drag queen story time events at Bay Area libraries.
On Friday, one took place in the East Bay, but it didn’t go as expected — the drag queen was missing.
“It was very disappointing that the performer was made to feel unsafe and not able to come today but I think the librarians did a great job rallying,” said mother Jennifer Staller.
Vanilla Meringue made the decision not to attend the event at the Berkeley Public Library due to safety concerns.
This just days after another performer at a Drag Queen Story Time event in San Lorenzo was the target of homophobic and hateful slurs.
“I don’t know if they are armed, I don’t know if they are about to spray us with bullets, with impunity,” said Panda Dulce at the San Lorenzo event.
Berkeley Library had its own Drag Queen Story Time on the same day; it was held outdoors and well attended.
But because of what happened in San Lorenzo, librarians made big changes for Friday’s event, moving it inside and upstairs.
They also put a security and evacuation plan in place.
“Did more attention get drawn to this event because of what happened in San Lorenzo? Absolutely,” said Chief Jen Louis of the Berkeley Police Department. “It was important for the department, important for the city to help support this event.”
The show still went on and its message to the community was clearly sent.
“It’s the openness, being able to express yourself and live your truth and doing it with love. These are people who are here just helping people feel joy,” said supervising librarian Elaine Tai.
NBC Bay Area reached out to the performer who stepped away from the event – but has not heard back.
Parents said they hope Drag Queen Story Time continues but they also want stepped up security measures for both the drag queens and the children watching.
Source: NBC Bay Area