The Houston chapter of Drag Queen Story Hour announced that it is canceling all future events after it was discovered that one of their performers was convicted for sexually assaulting an eight-year-old boy. Trent Lira and Devin Will, the founders of the Houston Drag Queen Story Hour, put out a statement announcing the end of the program in the Houstonia.
Then, last Friday, the ball dropped. News broke that one of our former readers was a sex offender. She was part of story time before [Houston Public Library] started enforcing background checks for every performer, and hasn’t been back since they started. When Trent spoke to the queen in question this weekend, she confirmed that she had been convicted in 2009. It was devastating. We had insisted and insisted that what we were doing was safe for children, and yet here was a performer who had been charged with sexual assault of a minor. We didn’t know about the conviction prior to last week, but it would have come up if a background check had been conducted. It was a systematic mistake.
Alberto Garza, who goes by the stage name Tatiana Mala-Niña, is the “she” in question, a 32-year-old convicted sex offender who had been reading to children through the program. The background checks only began after the library was sued by a group of protesters who claimed the library was endangering children. The lawsuit, in part, read, “With the government’s symbolic stamp of approval, the Drag Queen Story Hour amounts to a form of sexual grooming of 2 to 10-year-olds by adult males dressed as females… The event is not about “diversity,” it is about grooming children for government-approved sexual exploitation.”
Without the lawsuit, which was eventually dismissed, the background checks would have never happened. Lira and Will confirmed that in their statement.
When Tex Christopher, Tracy Shannon, Chris Sevier, and Calvin Miller filed a lawsuit against Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston Public Library Executive Director Rhea Lawson in October, the protests intensified. At that time, we gave the HPL legal department a comprehensive list of every guest performer, every book read, and every song sung. From that point forward, if any performers wanted to be involved in our story time, or if previous performers wanted to read in the future, they needed to apply as volunteers and undergo background checks—an existing library policy that, until then, had not been enforced in this case, an oversight for which the library has apologized.
Not passing up a chance to be seen as victims in this scenario, Lira and Will blame the concerned citizens for their relentless efforts to protect children from grooming efforts.
We have tried so hard to take the high road, to not stoop to mud-slinging. We have patiently listened to the people that declared we were sexualizing and molesting children. We have asked counter-protesters to be peaceful or not show up at all. We have been calm. We have been collected. But we are angry. And we are tired. And we are sick of well-intentioned but misinformed news stories that have only polarized people more. . .But ourselves and our library team believe it is time to step away and not continue with the program in March or for the foreseeable future. What started as a fun community event shared between us, a couple of drag queens and kings, and a few families has become a national controversy. People are being threatened. People are being hurt. We believe in what we’re doing, but we don’t believe in putting our friends, our families, or our children in danger.
It’s interesting that Lira and Will put the blame on the protesters for hurting people — and not the convicted sex offender, who actually harmed a child. There are no confirmed reports of protesters ever harming anyone involved in the Drag Queen Story Hour. There was a single incident where a protester was carrying a concealed weapon to a protest that he was legally certified to carry, and presumably carried everywhere.
The American Library Association, responsible for pushing these events on communities that don’t want them, is not new to controversy. Packed with radical leftists, the ALA regularly pushes events or policies onto communities that are neither useful nor beneficial to them and can sometimes be harmful. For years, communities have fought against library policies written by the ALA that allow men to watch porn near — and sometimes in front of — children. The ALA encourages libraries to fight all efforts to install filters to keep men from watching porn in libraries even though the Supreme Court has declared the use of filters in public libraries to be perfectly constitutional (United States v. American Library Association, 2003). These policies only serve to push a far-left agenda while endangering the public that pays for the libraries. Drag Queen Story Hour is just the most recent installment of the ALA’s agenda to push the religious dogma of the left on its patrons.
The shuttering of the Houston Drag Queen Story Hour is a victory for the community and for sanity.