The mayor of Sparks, Nevada, told the Reno Gazette Journal he opposes the Drag Queen Story Hour movement — in which the performers read stories, often about LGBTQ issues, to young children — and tried to shut down one that took place Saturday at the Sparks Library.
The Drag Queen Story Hour — for kids ages 3 to 8 and featuring a pair of local drag queens — was a first for northern Nevada, the Gazette Journal said.
'It doesn't make any sense to me'
"It doesn't make any sense to me," Mayor Ron Smith told the paper. "It is absolutely ridiculous. Why would you have transgender people talking to kids?"
More from the Gazette Journal:
He said he had concerns about drag queens taking off their clothes and reports of drag queens in other cities' story hours not being background checked and committing crimes against children.
In March, the Houston Public Library apologized for failing to conduct a background check on a registered sex offender who read books to children at a similar event, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Washoe County Library Director Jeff Scott, who has been at the helm of the library since 2015, said Smith's concerns are unwarranted.
"It is storytime like any other storytime," Scott told the paper, adding that "it is ridiculous and offensive to the LGBTQ community to say that anyone is going to molest children."
Scott added to the Gazette Journal that the event is supervised, teaches children about diversity and acceptance, and that the pair of performers — Ginger Devine and Aspen Meadows — are well known in the community, have worked with children's groups in the past, and have been background checked.
The mayor added to the paper that he reached out to Scott and County Commissioner Vaughn Hartung about stopping the event. The Gazette Journal noted that Hartung didn't immediately return a request for comment.
"They told me there is nothing they can do," Smith told the paper.
Scott noted to the Gazette Journal last month that he's "happy we can provide events like these for our community."
What happened at the Drag Queen Story Hour?
Hundreds of people turned out for the Drag Queen Story Hour, KOLO-TV reported, adding that protesters and supporters were out in force.
Mike Contos told the station that he's "proud to see the turnout of the counterprotesters here versus the anti-gay agenda protesters that are here."
But Loy Mach noted to KOLO that the event "sends chills up my spine; I don't believe that should be what we are subjecting our kids to."
A mother and father told the station they brought their daughter Trinity to the Drag Queen Story Hour to teach her about loving everyone.
"She's kind of at an impressionable age and we thought this was a great opportunity and we will be going to the Pride parade next week as well," Nichole Lander noted to KOLO.