Update on Penrose Library’s Drag Queen Story Time

August 31

What an amazing response from El Paso County!

Since we sent out the original alert just a few days ago, more than 400 of you – Colorado Springs and El Paso County residents – have sent messages to local leaders. That is a phenomenal response that has clearly gotten the attention of local officials. Most were unaware that the event was happening, and it has started a very important discussion about library standards.

In addition, as you may have seen, KOAA News5 covered the controversy as their lead story on Monday night, including comments from Family Policy Alliance’s Brittany Jones. In case you missed it, here’s the link to watch it.

For those of you who spoke up already, you likely received a response stating that because the event is sponsored by an outside organization – specifically Club Q, a gay nightclub – the library has no ability to limit or regulate it, as long as it doesn’t violate their meeting room policy.

While it’s true that the library makes its rooms available to all comers, that doesn’t address specific concerns:

  1. The Pikes Peak Library District is promoting the event on the PPLD website.
  2. In other states, these events are generally known as Drag Queen Story Hour. This event, though, plays off of PPLD’s own Storytime series – and PPLD allowed this Saturday’s Drag Queen Story Time to be scheduled following the regular PPLD Storytime. All of that seems designed to imply that this is part of the library’s regular Storytime program, which is aimed at ages 3 to 7.
  3. Throughout this whole episode, Club Q has been in violation of the library’s policy by not including a disclaimer in its promotional material. The required disclaimer is supposed to make clear that the event is not sponsored by PPLD.
  4. Contrary to the library’s claims, there is no “protected class” involved. Drag queens are not necessarily homosexual, nor are they necessarily transgender.
  5. Regardless of room policy or other claims, this is not age-appropriate material. Drag queens have been and continue to be associated with adult entertainment. In fact, the sponsor of this event is a gay nightclub that is connected to a notorious gay bathhouse. There is nothing in the meeting room policy, or in the law, that prevents PPLD from denying meeting-room space for a program based on its determination that the program is not age-appropriate for children.

What You Can Do: If you haven’t made your voice heard yet, please do! And please share this with others in our county. It’s important that good people engage with city and county officials, as well as engage respectfully with library leaders about how to provide age-appropriate material for El Paso County kids.

The Family Policy Alliance Team (in alliance with Colorado Family Action)