ceived for the Tele-Talk question “Do you approve or disapprove of the Conway Public Library hosting Drag Queen Story Hour?” Those approving it said the event would increase diversity and educate kids and parents. Those in disagreement were concerned about young children being exposed to certain ideas, safety and taxpayer funding.

Thanks to the library for its participation in the White Mountain Pride Week. If you feel it is inappropriate venue for your children, please do not bring him/her. This library is not for protest or disruption but for those children and parents who are interested in a different perspective usually not presented in most children’s books. Anne.

It should be parents’ responsibility not to expose their children to the transgender/homosexual values but to protect them in their formative years and guide them toward natural male/female sexuality. We have dignified gay friends with no need to be advocating their sexuality preferences. Granted, there are those individuals “born homosexual,” but today’s society should not encourage and glorify that kind of lifestyle, especially to influence children. A couple of Freedomites.

I 1,000 percent approve of this event. In a world where we should be learning to accept and love one another, this is a great step. Not to mention most children won’t even understand what a drag queen is, but they will get the exposure to the world around them in a way that both promotes reading and world acceptance. If you seriously disagree, just don’t go and keep your children and opinions to yourself. There is no need to ruin the chance for other people to allow their children proper growth just because it makes you unhappy.

Any person should be able to question an event put on for children, as to content and purpose, without being accused of displaying “prejudice and ignorance." (Roderick Forsman). While no one I know has any concerns about "Pride Week," I think any event targeted at children should be carefully looked at as to whether it is appropriate or not. This event may be perfectly harmless, or may carry some aspects that are troublesome. I have 34 years as a child protection social worker and have every right to ask questions about any event without being labelled. Maureen in Glen.

Come on folks. Join the 21st century. If you don't want your kids to meet a drag queen, don't take them to story hour, but don't stop others from enjoying a fun broadening afternoon. If I don't want to teach kids to handle a gun and hunt, for whatever reason, I don't. Judy from Bartlett.

The point of the story hour is to build a more just world through giving children a diverse vision of what is possible. Drag Queen Story Hour poses no threat to children or to our community. Homophobia and transphobia, however, present clear threats to queer people everywhere. In 2018, at least 29 transgender women were violently murdered in the U.S., with the majority of those cases going unsolved. Let’s name the real sources of violence at work here: hatred and bigotry. I hope the library trustees and our community at large stand for building a safer world for all queer and trans people. Gretchen Davidson from Eaton.

Teaching children to be tolerant of other people by their parents is appropriate at any age. Reading to them books about alternate sexual lifestyles by gay drag queens is not appropriate at any age. These people are not Disney World characters, and some of them in Texas were pedophiles. Most parents would agree that background checks and certifications should be required by all who deal with young children. This is common practice in schools and youth groups and the library is horribly remiss in never having done this.

I disagree with the drag queen reading for young children. Where, in my opinion most people agree with me, the tax-funded library should scrap this program. This seems like a devious method to brainwash our young children to accept only one side of an ongoing debate. It's up to the parents to teach their own children what they feel is appropriate, not these outside groups. I don't care how any person lives their lives, because it's their right, but it's also my right to teach my children without outside interference. You tell us that this reading would teach our children tolerance, but in pushing this scenario, these groups have a one-sided view and have no tolerance for other opinions. The LGBT groups want to have their flag displayed under the American flag in our embassies around the world. If this is allowed, many other groups would want to do the same. The individual American flag represents all groups and all people in our country. Identity politics divides this country, and if we want to unite in the future, this strategy must be eliminated.

I truly believe that the drag queen story is important to our culture and if a parent has a problem with it, they should stay home with their children, if that's their prerogative. But those parents should not be telling other parents that it's not right. If you don't believe in something then just don't do it or don't attend, but you know to prevent other people from doing so because of your belief is truly wrong. Tina from Albany.

All should disapprove if they have any commonsense at all. Library officials who allowed this should all be fired. It's a LGBT community who is trying to recruit children at an early age to convince them that their perverse lifestyle is just fine to try. What's next? Allowing nudists at the library to show the differences in naked bodies to young children? There were drag queens at the lip sync contest the other night, put on by Lisa __  at the Abenaki Restaurant. They put filthy sex into their act that should not have been done as others in that contest were much better at lip syncing. However, they won because the majority in the audience would definitely those in the gay community. I pray that a nice restaurant like Abenaki will not be known as a gay bar. Mary.

I am against it. Simply because I don't think it presents a healthy and reputable role model for children ages 3-8 and seems to meet the needs of two men who want to look and act like women. DJ from Center Conway.

As co-chair of White Mountains Pride, I whole-heartedly approve of this event and will be bringing my children. An opportunity to hear stories about being welcoming and inclusive is a lesson I want my children to have — and the costume or clothing of the reader does not change the message I hope my kids receive: Everyone has value, even if they appear or feel different, and should be appreciated.

After reading about the upcoming "Drag Queen Story Hour" for children at the Conway Public Library, and how some think that  this is perfectly normal and will be good for our children, I have this to say. The LGBTQ community has somehow imposed "Pride Month" upon us. We now have an alphabet soup of initials to identify how these people want us to know how they identify sexually, as if the rest of us really care. Most of us don't.We don't need all these letters to identify these various people, we only need one letter which is Q. Q is for queer, which means differing in some odd way from what is usual or normal, strange, eccentric, or unconventional.

Supporters ask what harm can come to our children from being exposed to this? What harm? Don't get me started. What possible good can come from exposing our children to this? Maybe we should take this a little bit further. Why doesn't Story Land, where "Fantasy Lives," have a "Drag Queen Weekend," with all the storybook characters dressed in drag? Can't you just see Dorothy, who identifies as Danny, singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" to the Wizard of Odds? Let our kids be kids for as long as they can. Don't impose your choice of lifestyle on them. And some wonder why the Old Man of the Mountain leaped to his death 14 years ago. Barry Ennis from Tuftonboro.
 
I know, I know, people expressing creative freedom can be intimidating, and maybe show you courage and existence that you only wish you could know. This, however, is no reason to dislike these people. As a man, with a wife and three kids who grew up in this valley, I can attest to the amount of prejudice and bigotry some of the other "locals" like to exhibit, usually behind closed doors with one another. Letting my children experience new and seemingly different things is what I strive for as a parent. If you don't strive for this there is a simple solution, don't go. You do not however get to choose whether or not other people get to go. These "perversions" many of you "do-gooders" are talking about fein in comparison to the human trafficking, pedophelia and other unspeakable things your religion that you cling to so desperately do on a daily basis. Let people be themselves, let people who enjoy people being themselves experience these people in a supported and fruitful way. Let the people expressing themselves NON-SEXUALLY and ALL FOR THE FUN OF THE KIDS do so, and stop whining. I am sure you can pray about it, and if you're lucky, you're "God" will totally listen. Conway. Mike Rabideau.

I'm as liberal as they come, and I do not support inviting drag queens to read to children. Why? Simply put, drag queens exploit women. To paraphrase an article written by a feminist leader, drag queens make a mockery of women with a "cartoonish, negative stereotype." They present a "narrow and damaging version of femininity." The Conway Public Library is very shortsighted in thinking this is a good idea.

What absolutely kills me in all of this is what these nay-sayers fail to realize. Drag queens are just performers. The end. And as seasoned performers, they will cater themselves to their audience. To think that they'd get up and lip-sync to an absurdly raunchy song in a room full of children and their guardians is laughably ludicrous. Entertainers. The same way that beloved TV dad, Mr. Tanner from Full House was played by one of the filthiest standup comics in the ‘80s. And we all watched that show as a family, didn’t we? So before you throw out blanket statements about what you think a drag queen is or isn't, maybe you should actually meet one. Drag queens are the fiercest, brave, entertaining, loving; and amazing group of humans I know.

I do not agree with the drag queen event story hour at the library. It's not so much the drag queen show, if it were being offered to 18 or over — it's the audience that they are reading to. Three to 8-year-olds need to focus on sharing and being kind. They don't need to have any type of additional confusion and they're already hectic little lives.

As a proud mom, I am proud of White Mountains Pride for doing the whole event. The people who have organized this should be proud. My son never felt comfortable here, even though he was born and raised in the valley. It took his going to college out of state to finally have a community he felt safe in. Safe to walk down the street holding his boyfriend’s hand and be who God intended him to be. Nice to see we are finally opening our eyes to these amazing people already in our community and at the same time making them proud of our little town.

I don't think the library's decision to sponsor a drag queen book reading is a good idea. Why did they need to parade around and make a big deal of their choices? If people want to be gay, that's a private decision. But many of us who are labeled homophobic merely dislike having it crammed down our throats by these exhibitionists; and trying to convince our children that this is normal. No, I do not think it's a good idea. Betty in Chocorua.

For healthy emotional and social development, children need consistent and predictable role models. What happened to the social boundary about what is appropriate for young children to view and experience? How about putting the needs of young children first and not the lifestyle of another individual.

I think it's pathetic that these gays, or whatever you want call them, are going to be talking to young children, trying to expose them to this type of life. This is utterly pathetic and shouldn't even be allowed, and I've already called the Conway Library and expressed my grave concern for this kind of unnatural act being done to our children of today.

Not that I'm against what they're personally doing, they can do whatever they want their own personal life, their adults, but when they're targeting children, that's where I have a problem.

I deeply disapprove of the drag queen story hour, I think it is terrible. Kids learn that themselves when they're in school and I think it is terrible that it has to be part of the library. I am so against it.

The primary purpose of this is to antagonize family values and traditional-minded people; and the fact that a grownup cannot attend without a child proves that there is subversive agenda to disturb children.

Whether I approve or not is not relevant. The library has hired amazing employees to provide educational opportunities to patrons. I think it is an excellent idea and I appreciate having such a program in the valley.

Thank you Conway library and those that made this possible and thank the brave people willing to share their art and a part of them to a room full of strangers. I love this idea.

I support any local effort to embrace the diversity that exists in our valley and applaud the library for moving the effort forward.

Approve. Why not? It’s a wonderful opportunity for those who would love to be a part of something like this. If there is anyone who doesn’t like it, they just don’t have to go. Pretty simple.

I think this is a wonderful way for our community to embrace diversity. Knowledge is power and a lack of knowledge breeds ignorance. Kudos to the library for hosting this event.

You might be wondering how we got to this place, where drag queens are deemed appropriate role models for our children. When we applaud such lifestyles as homosexuality, transgenderism and queer, this is just the next step in the in the decline of cultural boundaries, and this might be the end of the nonsense. Better vote for God and country in 2020. Jim from Glen.

It can only benefit those who attend, and those who choose not to attend will not be affected. People are just people, no matter what clothing they wear. A great opportunity to learn about our beautiful differences and enjoy some books at the same time.

My kindergartners love learning about all types of people and would love this. Children are beautiful because they aren’t tainted with the hate that adults push on them yet.

I don’t agree with the drag queens reading to young children at the Conway library. I actually think its child abuse and it shouldn't be allowed. I don't know what's going on in this country but this is absolutely ridiculous and I'm dead set against it.

Approve 100 percent. There is not a lot of diversity/new things going on in the community and I think this story time is a great idea. Children are always accepting of one another and that’s why I have chosen a career working with children. If you don’t like it, then simply don’t go to it. Point blank.

I love it. Teaching our children about acceptance and inclusion is always a good idea. Shame on those who don’t think so.

I’m crying at all these comments. Representing different walks of life at a young age is so important. I moved to New York City four years ago from N.H. I used to cry myself to bed at night fearing difference. Thank you so much for teaching your children the importance of being different.

Yes. Amazing that Conway would offer this. Great way to teach kids acceptance. Don’t like it? Don’t go. It’s voluntary. But I know my sister is bringing my nephew.

I just don't understand why sexuality needs to be taught to anyone who hasn't even figured out their own sexuality yet. Let kids be kids.

You know, if I brought my son there he probably wouldn't even question the person reading the story. Regardless of ANY difference, he would just know that a person is reading him a book. That's the beauty of children; especially in this time in history, it's the adults who have issues. Kids just see other humans. If you're nice to them, they'll be nice back. So, I hope everyone who CHOOSES to go to this story time enjoys it, and those with sticks up their you-know-what will just move on and find the next thing to be offended about for no reason.

The answer is, there is a better question. Should you fear for the safety of children? Sometimes fear is not a bad thing, it is a healthy emotion in order to survive. Background checks are made to reduce fear that a child may be at risk. A convicted pedophile has paid a penalty for a crime and is on a list for a reason. The library is promoting discourse and fear when it has the chance to promote the safety of the library for children. I love to dress in character, male or female. It could have been Character Hour. This is LADY UNLADY LIKE from Tamworth. P.S. I think the Tele-Talk is rigged.

Does anyone remember Mrs. Doubtfire? I loved that movie as a child in the ‘90s. It even viewed her getting a talk show at the end as the dad dressed as a woman reading stories to kids on air in the movie. Everyone I knew watching that growing up seem to have families of their own. Now I think it will be fine.

Approve. Fall River, Mass, held a Drag Queen Storytime last Saturday, over 300 children were in attendance. It’s great to promote tolerance and acceptance, but if it’s something that goes against your beliefs, just don’t go.

I don’t even understand why this is an issue. No one questions having other costumed characters invited to read to the kids. What do drag queens have to do with pedophilia? How is this an assault on societal norms? How did this even become a discussion related to sexual anything? People are coming to read to children - end of discussion. No one seems to question Winnie the Pooh showing up to do the same.

I love they are hosting the event. Any parent who doesn't want to bring their children is free to stay home, but I hope there is a huge crowd. It's time we stopped fearing people different from ourselves.

No, I do not. No one in there right heart would ever expose young, vulnerable of children to such an extreme of some adults. Also, not even printing that out talk phone number speaks volumes.

Approve 100 percent. We are finally getting some diversity in the valley that is needed. For those who don’t like it, stay home and read your own kid a book.

The kids love it. I’ve been to one in another community. The kids don’t care. They don’t judge. To them it’s like costume story hour. Kids aren’t jaded and don’t have the same judgmental issues most adults have.

Would the library approve of story time in black face? It's a shocking question, right? Black face is a caricature of black people and is wholeheartedly denounced by any sane person. Drag is an often obscene caricature of women, so why is it celebrated and encouraged (even in 10 and 11 year-old boys, apparently)? Additionally, I'm not sure what this has to do with LGBTQ/Pride since drag is entertainment and not a sexual orientation. Just some food for thought.

What’s become apparent is that there should also be a drag queen story hour for adults, so maybe some could learn that queens aren’t all that scary and encourage acceptance of difference while providing an enjoyable literary experience.

The angry faces and negative comments only highlight how close-minded this community really is. If you don't approve then mind your business and don't go. And why is this even a question for the paper to ask?

You couldn’t just keep it off Tele-Talk? This is such a tired debate. People need to read more, travel more and listen to/meet more people. Yaaawn.

I DONT support this and here is why: Drag is a sexualized version of a woman better suited for an older audience. Children do not need exposure to drag queens as role models at such a young age. I have done my research on the two performers and the things they post are not appropriate for children ages 3-8. Adults, you do you. I do not have an issue with drag queens in general. But for children, this can wait. We can teach them acceptance other ways. Before you say "then don’t go," my children will be exposed to it by their friends who attend. This is pressuring me to have adult conversations sooner than I had planned to. Let kids be kids. Drag is for adults.

This event is a CHOICE so if you don’t approve of it then DON’T GO. Don’t take something away from the locals of Conway just because you don’t agree with it. I will be happily bringing my little 3 year old as he loves story time at the library no matter who’s reading.

Scrolling through these comments, I find it interesting that if you approve, you're cool. If you don't approve, you're a demon. Nice to see such openness.

I approve. Libraries are the cornerstone of free speech in America. If the library had a topic I didn't like or didn't want my children to be at, I would just choose not to attend. That's what the “Live Free or Die” state is all about.

I'm totally against it. It's time for David Smolen to resign from running the library; he’s done enough damage to our community.

People fear what they don't know. A little more diversity up here is much needed if for nothing else, to show people they are not some monster to fear.

This is totally improper. It's very liberal and I don't think our children should be subject to this kind of thing. If you're an adult and you decide that's your game, that's fine, but other than that I do not definitely think that our children should be subject to this kind of crap. Just my opinion, this is a no-go.

I think it's up to the parents to decide. Let the attendance numbers guide future programming.

Matt said it best: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

I think that it is a wonderful idea and I am very proud of our library for doing this.

My children will not be attending the reading. I think you can figure out why.

Human beings telling stories in a public setting? Who cares.

I'm proud of the library for including Crystal and Mimi.

Absolutely not. The inmates are in charge of the asylum. This country is gone.

Proud mom of an LGBT youth and proud of our valley for embracing diversity.

Don’t like it, don’t go, plain and simple. Let people live their lives they want to without facing criticism.

Poor little kids exposed to this performance.

What a great opportunity for our community. Thanks library.

Very proud of our Conway Public Library.

They're targeting a very young age group that can very easily be manipulated and are too young to understand. Also, the fact that we can't run background checks because it's "discrimination" is mind boggling especially in the world we live in.

Don't drag queens typically perform at clubs for adults only? When did they start performing for children? Should we let strippers start performing for them too?

Approve 100 percent If you don't like it or don't approve don't come. This is one event. And for folks worried about danger to children, most of it is in your own home and family. The only thing that would keep me away from it is the possibility of the scene created by potential "protesters." But then again, my kids know that there are absolute a**holes in the world that judge and hate based on whats different in a person. While we don't like or approve of those kinds of people, we accept that they have the right to live their asshole lives just like the rest of us. Maybe we SHOULD go, just so people like that can learn something from little kids.

Highly disapprove that this is directed towards children 3-8 years old. This is a very controversial subject that fuels a fire for some to say that objective people are small minded and against the sexual preference of another. Say what you want about me and my comments if it makes you feel better. I still do not approve this. I suggest a drag queen show or story hour be held anywhere that want that is 18 and up only.

So everyone that approved, is the basic premise of the event to teach kids, to love and accept all?

This Tele-talk has highlighted an area of ignorance in the community. Their is an opportunity to meet this ignorance with education, so informed opinions might be formed. Those who are disapproving, I hope you are taking the time to learn the truth about what you are disagreeing with so you can make the informed decision to stand against and demonize another life choice. I'm consistently disappointed in the blanket statements of those disapproving of others living their truth, so much care and thought and self reflection goes into finding out what feels right for one's life, and to have someone lazily discard that work, hurts.

The further one deviates from being a cis-gender (presenting as the gender you were born), white, male makes one's life more unsafe and systemically oppressed. The hurdles one goes through to defend their right to just exist is gross, the amount of research and work to not suffer abuse and possible is staggering.

If you disapprove, do yourself a favor and take ten minutes of your life and watch a Youtube video or read a few articles about the topic you are going to disagree with. If you sincerely believe someone else is less worthy of basic human rights and considerations, at least take the time to make sure you're making the right choice. If you have the time to make these comments, you can make the time to educate. yourself.

If the goal of this newspaper is to address the issue of bigotry in the valley, and to help with progress and keeping up with the rest of modern society, it should follow this tele-talk up with some articles dispelling the wrong assumptions that are floating around our community the birth the stigma which have been highlighted here. Like running corrections and fact checking content, it's a powerful service that can make all the difference to the cultural health and well being of a community, to leave it unchecked would show a flagrant disregard to the well being of the towns inhabitants and that this is sensationalizing the struggles of the minorities for profit.

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