From the library to a church: Drag Queen Story Time making moves in Columbus

On a rainy Saturday in August, dozens of children packed into the Mildred L. Terry Public Library were singing along to “Baby Shark,” clapping their hands and dancing in place as a storyteller prepared to read them the first book of the day.

Outside the library, three people stood in protest, holding signs and a wooden cross. One man held a Bible.

“In the name of Jesus, we want to shed light for people that’s in the dark,” Tilly Frazier then told the Ledger-Enquirer.

The men stood in protest against Drag Queen Story Time. The event was modeled after Drag Queen Story Hour, a national program created in San Francisco to promote gender diversity. The Columbus event was sponsored by local LGBT advocacy group ColGay Pride.

Event organizers dubbed Drag Queen Story Time a success. Drag queen Monica Starr read stories that promoted diversity and inclusion to a crowded room full of children and parents.

Now, the event has a new home — a church.

On the first Saturday of each month, a drag artist will read stories to Columbus-area kids at Forgiving Heart Church, said Jeremy Scott Hobbs, director of ColGay pride.

“We look forward to seeing everyone there for this NEW EXCITING JOURNEY IN LGBT DIVERSITY STORY READINGS,” Hobbs said in a message to the Ledger-Enquirer

The next Story Time is April 6 at 11 a.m. The reader for the event is Amelia Moore.

When Story Time was announced last year, the event drew praise and criticism in Columbus and Middle Georgia.

Starr, whose real name is Brian Hopkins, told the Ledger-Enquirer in August that Story Time was not trying to recruit children into the LGBTQ community.

“All we’re trying to do is to get these kids to know that they can be loved just by being who they are,” Hopkins said.

To learn more about Drag Queen Story Time in Columbus, visit the ColGay Pride Facebook page.