The performer for the “Drag Queen Story Hour” and a petitioner to cancel the event have met to talk about the spectacle the controversy has become.
According to Romeo Huff-Garza, who is scheduled to perform at the event at the St. Joseph Library’s Downtown branch, the two met Thursday night and agreed to disagree on some points. However, he and petition organizer Lara Muse agreed hateful social media posts and harassing messages about the event were only making things worse, he said.
“I was kind of shocked (when I saw the message offering a meeting),” Huff-Garza said. “She (Muse) said she didn’t hate me, she didn’t hate the LGBTQ community or drag queens, she just wanted a chance to explain herself.”
Muse previously told News-Press NOW that the petition wasn’t about the performer or LGBTQ issues, but rather the library’s decision to host such an event for children. She did come under fire from some on social media and in direct messages over the use of the word “pedophilic” in her petition, because her husband is a registered sex offender. The victim in that case also has spoken out, saying social media posters shouldn’t reignite old issues.
“I wanted to give her the chance to explain why all this came about and she did,” Huff-Garza said. “While we might not fully agree, we agreed to go on with our lives. That’s all we can do.”
“Drag Queen Story Hour” is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10.
St. Joseph Public Library Director Mary Beth Revels confirmed Friday that the story hour still will happen, but she said it may be moved to a different venue. Revels said that decision would likely be made Monday. She said the library is concerned people may have to be turned away from the event due to space, as the story hour could include protesters and counter-protesters.
“We’re expecting a larger turnout,” Huff-Garza said.
Huff-Garza said the library chose the two books that will be read, “Jack not Jackie” and “Not All Princesses Wear Pink.”
“We just wanted to do this for the community, so sometimes you just have to put aside your differences and treat people with respect,” Huff-Garza said. “You don’t necessarily have to agree with their opinion.”
He also wanted to clarify what being a drag queen means to him.
“A lot of people are confused about what a drag queen even is,” Huff-Garza said. “It’s not a way of life. To me, it’s just a hobby that I do for fun.”