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CON­TIN­UED FROM PAGE told the Ge­or­gia Voice. The Ponce branch went on to host three more DQSHs in De­cem­ber, March, and July. De­spite its suc­cess, the event was not well­re­ceived by ev­ery­one. MassRe­sis­tance, a “pro-fam­ily” or­ga­ni­za­tion, was de­ter­mined to keep the event out of At­lanta. Ac­cord­ing to a story posted on their web­site, ac­tivists at MassRe­sis­tance were told by the li­brary that an­other DQSH event was planned on Septem­ber 30 of this year. Af­ter protest from the or­ga­ni­za­tion, the event was re­port­edly “can­celled.” Their protests al­legedly con­sisted of fly­ers which re­ferred to the event as “child abuse” and nu­mer­ous phone calls and emails to the li­brary de­mand­ing the sup­posed event’s can­cel­la­tion. How­ever, AFPLS up­held their sup­port of the story time and said that no plans were can­celled. “The Ponce Li­brary com­mu­nity loves the pro­gram and has sup­ported it since its in­cep­tion,” Clau­dia Strange, the mar­ket­ing and pub­lic re­la­tions man­ager at AFPLS, told the Ge­or­gia Voice. “We did not have any plans to host a DQSH on Septem­ber 30 of this year,” she added. “We have not can­celled any pro­grams since we be­gan in 2017.” Strange was re­spon­si­ble for orig­i­nally bring­ing the event to the li­brary. Al­though MassRe­sis­tance — which the South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter clas­si­fies an anti-LGBTQ hate group — re­ferred to the event as “one of the lat­est well-or­ga­nized ef­forts of the rad­i­cal LGBT move­ment to in­doc­tri­nate young chil­dren,” Igarashi-Bell hes­i­tated to even at­tach the LGBTQ la­bel to DQSH. “The story time isn’t about me or my sex­u­al­ity. The im­por­tance of DQSH to me is in en­cour­ag­ing chil­dren to de­velop a love of books and read­ing,” he said, liken­ing the cre­ative so­lace of books to drag. “I hope that chil­dren and their par­ents will take away that the li­brary is a safe space,” he added. “It’s a place to ed­u­cate your­self and ex­pose your­self to new things, with­out fear of judg­ment or ridicule.” The drag queen rec­og­nized the need for more safe spa­ces among the LGBTQ com­mu­nity. He hopes DQSH can of­fer just that. Strange as­sured Ge­or­gia Voice that the li­brary would never be dis­suaded from host­ing an event like DQSH be­cause of protests. They plan to up­keep the story times. “We have heard loud and clear from our pa­trons at the Ponce Li­brary that they want and sup­port this pro­gram,” she told Ge­or­gia Voice. “We fully ex­pect to con­tinue with this pro­gram for as long as there is in­ter­est in the event.” The AFPLS made two ap­pear­ances at this year’s Pride fes­ti­val. The li­brary had a booth and spon­sored a DQSH, where Miss Terra Cotta Su­gar­baker read to kids at the fes­ti­val’s Fam­ily Fun Zone.

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