A rainbow wall of flags and umbrellas was erected to block protesters hateful signs and chants at a drag queen story hour in Baltimore, Maryland. The Story hour held at the Canton branch of Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library drew 80 people who enjoyed it and some two dozen protesters who denounced it.
Across the street protesters gathered holding signs that said “Cancel Drag Queen Story Hour,” “Drag Queens Belong In Clubs — Not Libraries,” and “You Call It Storytime — We Call It Grooming.”
Supporters of the event held up umbrellas, flags, and sheets to block the signs while playing Disney and Broadway music to drown out protesters’ chants of “leave our children alone” and “let our kids be kids.” They also escorted families to their cars following the event.
“We’ve been organizing a drag queen story hour for the past three years and never had protesters,” said Meghan McCorkell, a spokesperson for the library system. “I have no idea what caused this.” adn told the told The Baltimore Banner that the library finds its drag book-readers through the National Drag Queen Story Hour, which vets and trains its readers.
Over the last year, there has been an increase in protests against drag queen story hours. This is apparently a reaction to the events being seen as a way to 'sexualize' children. According to a report published by GLAAD in December, a record 124 incidents targeting drag events were reported across 47 U.S. states in 2022. Spurred by online misinformation from social media accounts and anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric from far-right organizations and Republican politicians.