Drag queens may read to kids at a Louisiana library

A Louisiana library has agreed to let Drag Queen Story Time take place in one of its meeting rooms, the ACLU of Louisiana said.

The Lafayette Public Library said in a statement emailed Friday that any group following its meeting room guidelines and patron behavior policy may use meeting rooms.

Acadiana Supporters of Drag Queen Story Time organizer Matthew Humphrey said he confirmed a room reservation Friday, but did not want to publicize the event date.

“This was never a victory dance for us,” Humphrey said. “We consider it a win because we’ll be using the library that we pay taxes for. But we’re just happy we can have our meeting.”

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He has said previously that the event aims to let children know that it’s OK to be different and it’s OK for other kids to be different.

Drag Queen Story Time was organized after a religious group sued the library because the University of Louisiana at Lafayette chapter of Delta Lambda Phi, a “gay, bisexual and progressive” fraternity, had scheduled a different event called Drag Queen Story Hour there for Oct. 5.

“Drag Queen Story Hour is apparently a national event. This event is local and is called Story Time,” said Katie Schwartzmann, legal director for the ACLU of Louisiana.

Libraries and bookstores around the country have held programs in which men in drag read stories to children. Some have drawn protests.

The library agreed not to schedule a Drag Queen Story Hour while the suit was in court.

It also began using a room reservation form that required patrons to say they wouldn’t use the library for such purposes. Humphrey said that requirement was a problem.

“We felt the form was a bridge too far,” Humphrey said. “The lawsuit can go on and on and on, as long as for now we have equal access to the library.”

The judge told attorneys he plans to rule on the lawsuit soon, the library’s statement and Schwartzmann said.

Humphrey said his group has about 1,300 members, though he doesn’t know how many live in Acadiana, south Louisiana’s Cajun country.

They include members of the LGBTQ community and parents, children and other supporters of the community, some of them from other states, he said.

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