CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- A protest against a scheduled public event where drag queens will read to children descended into a screaming match Thursday as people from both sides of the issue gathered to make their voices heard.
Drag Queen Storytime is scheduled to take place September 10 at the Otay Ranch Branch of the Chula Vista Library.
MassResistance, a self-described pro-family group, held a news conference in front of the Chula Vista Civic Center Library Thursday in protest.
"We're here to ensure the Drag Queen story hour is canceled here in Chula Vista," organizer Arthur Schaper said. "We want it to be shut down all over the country. This is a perverse, destructive program pushing lies."
Schaper engaged in several heated discussions with attendees who challenged him on his stance. Shouts and chants frequently broke out during the news conference.
"I don't know what they think the drag queens are gonna do," one LGTBQ+ supporter said. "They're gonna wear wigs and dresses and read stories. Big deal!"
Chula Vista Councilmember Steve Padilla also weighed in, releasing a statement that read in part, "I am disappointed that some voices both from inside and outside our community have chosen to use the upcoming Drag Queen Storytime as an opportunity to perpetuate long discredited false and discriminatory narratives targeting the LGBTQ+ community in the name of protecting children. This is wrong and must be called out for what it is -- the spreading of ignorance, fear, and hate."
Among the protesters calling for the cancellation of Drag Queen Storytime were parents who voiced concerns over the event. "This has nothing to do with ignorance, fear and hate," one mother said. "This has to do with protecting our children from being exposed."
Drag Queen Storytime is scheduled to take place on September 10 at 4 p.m. To accommodate the number of registrants, the Chula Vista Library announced Friday that it is moving the event to the Civic Center Library on F Street.