Coquitlam drag queen story time event braces for protests

A B.C. drag queen plans to use love and positivity to show she’s unstoppable, as she prepares for a drag queen storytime for kids in Coquitlam where protestors are expected to attend. Kier Junos reports.

A B.C. drag queen plans to use love and positivity to show she’s unstoppable, as she’s slated to do a drag queen story time for kids this weekend in Coquitlam where protestors are expected to attend.

The “Unstoppable” Conni Smudge will lead the event Saturday morning at Coquitlam Public Library’s City Centre branch. The story time will feature reading, crafts and sing-alongs.

But people are set to protest the event, as Conni says demonstrators made threats saying her presentation will sexualize or psychologically harm children.

“Sexualizing children is not what we’re about. We’re about creating an all-inclusive space where everyone can be themselves,” she told CityNews.

“Some people have never experienced what we actually do. They’re making judgments without having any information.”

Read More: Emotions flare as protestors gather outside drag queen story time event in Kitsilano

Despite the hateful comments she says she’s been receiving, Conni is still planning to show up at the library, extending an open invitation to all supporters who want to join her.

“We will all meet up at 9 a.m. at the waterfront station, and then we’re leaving promptly at 9:15 a.m. and we’re going to take the SkyTrain out to Coquitlam Library and we are going to create a bubble of love,” she said.

“The only way to combat hate is more love.”

Some of the people supporting Conni are familiar with the tactics that will likely be used by protestors.

Activists Megan and Stephanie are part of the Cyclist over Convoys activist group and have organized counter-protests at events like this for the past eight months or so.

They say the protestors who show up often record participants with their phones, egging them on for a response to loaded questions.

“A big part of us being at these events is just to intervene so when passers-by do get caught up with this rage bait, we can say, ‘hey, you don’t have to answer these questions’,” Stephanie said.

“We like to sing, especially with the kids around and everything. We try to light it up and make it feel like, you know, festive,” Megan added.

Library, RCMP aware of potential protests

The Coquitlam Public Library acknowledges that there may be protestors at Saturday’s event. In a statement to CityNews, the library says this is the second time they’ve held a drag storytime, electing to do so after the first one saw success.

“The goal of a Drag Story Time, as held in many libraries across Canada, is to model inclusiveness, kindness and acceptance, as well as to promote a love of reading. It is a voluntary event for people who may identify as LGBTQ2IA+, people in same-sex caregiver(s) families, their allies, and interested members of the public,” the library statement says.

The CPL adds there was “online pushback” and “small protests and counter-protests” in relation to last year’s event.

“We are grateful to Coquitlam RCMP’s for their support in keeping this event safe for families,” the library said.

Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Alexa Hodgins confirms that Saturday’s event is on its radar and “will respond to any calls for service as necessary.”

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