Stories read by drag queens cause unease in some in Rockford

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — An event where a drag queen reads stories to children at Rockford’s public library has upset some parents as the city celebrates LGBTQ Pride Month for the first time.
Assistant Library Director Emily Klonicki said entertainer Cass Marie Domino will read to children ages 3 to 8 on June 22 at the library’s East Branch for Drag Queen Story Hour. The stories selected for the reading are about individuality and being different and are not about gender identification, Klonicki said.
Library trustee board President Paul Logli said some board members were “uncertain” at first, “but when staff explained to some of us, many, including myself, became more comfortable.”
But some parents remain dismayed by the decision to host the event, including Sandi Ware.
“A big, hairy man scantily dressed as a woman … is inappropriate for this age group,” said Ware, the parent of two preschoolers.
Amy Newburn, a teacher and parent, shared those concerns.
“What kind of influence are we trying to push on young minds?” Newburn said. “Now we have to be careful what happens at story hour.”
Logli said the event will be held in a room separate from the children’s area, so no one will “stumble” into something they don’t want to attend.
Children must be accompanied by an adult. Among the books being read will be, “It’s Okay To Be Different” by Todd Parr.