Advertisement
  1. Pasco

Pasco's Drag Queen Story Hour goes off without protest

Stephanie Stuart, a self-proclaimed transgender drag queen, reads at an Aug. 18 Drag Queen Story Hour at the New Port Richey public library. Courtesy Nina Borders, Pasco Pride
Published Aug. 23

NEW PORT RICHEY — Organizers of a "Drag Queen Story Hour" for children held last weekend at the New Port Richey Public Library say it was a joyous time for all in attendance, especially since no protestors gathered outside.

That likely is because a group that protested previous story hour events didn't know about it. Earlier protests led Pasco Pride to move the event from a Port Richey bookstore to the New Port Richey library on Main Street.

For the second time in two weeks, the Pasco Pride event that features a drag queen reading children's books, brought passionate testimony to Tuesday's New Port Richey City Council meeting.

Two weeks it ago, organizers and proponents of the story hour urged the city to allow them to hold it in Peace Hall, the city's downtown event building next to Sims Park. But the city required them to get a special-event permit due to security concerns over intense protests at previous story hours. That prompted Pasco Pride's move to the library.

A similar story hour in St. Pete this month also drew protestors.

On Tuesday, a couple dozen opponents spoke out against the story hour at the New Port Richey council meeting. They quoted scripture, called the story hour a promotion of deviant behavior, said it encourages sexual confusion in children and expressed fears over pedophilia.

Calvary Chapel Worship Center pastor Dick Maxwell told council members that while he understood that Pasco Pride had not applied for a special-event permit at Peace Hall, he still wanted to speak against it.

"Basically, when you have somebody, a man, dressing up, even taking hormones to look like a woman, that man is acting out sexually," he said. "It might not be copulating, per se, in front of child, but he is acting out sexually."

Maxwell did not know, however, that while he and his group were focusing on the prospect of a story hour at Peace Hall, one had taken place Aug. 18 at the library next door.

The nonprofit Pasco Pride deliberately kept it under wraps as an invite-only event in a library meeting room.

"It was really our best event ever, because there were no protestors making us fear for our safety," Pasco Pride president Nina Borders said on Wednesday.

The event, which drew 37 people, operated just as it was intended, she said, a place where children have stories read to them, have snacks and play with other kids in an environment that promotes inclusivity. Pasco Pride intends to have more story hours, but has not set dates for them, she said.

The City Council made no comment in response to opponents who spoke Tuesday, but Mayor Rob Marlowe told the Tampa Bay Times the city will not discriminate against anyone based on sexual orientation or any other factor, such as race or religion, that wants to use the city's public library. The library is a far more logical and secure venue than the city's event hall, he said.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Mitchell High School junior Noah Denny addressed the New Port Richey City Council several times since February regarding his ideas for a plastic straw ban in the city. James Denny
  2. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
    The board’s 2019-20 budget totals $1.39 billion.
  3. The DeLucio family of Trinity toured the Mitchell High School campus and showed the visit on their YouTube channel, which has more than 1 million subscribers. Many parents, students and school officials were not amused. YouTube
    The proposed policy comes up for a vote on Oct. 1.
  4. United School Employees of Pasco president Don Peace denounces the school district's pay raise proposal in a YouTube video sent to all district employees Sept. 9, 2019. United School Employees of Pasco
    The local teachers union already has denounced the idea.
  5. Pasco County community news TMCCARTY80  |  Tara McCarty
    Neighbors voice concerns about increased traffic, water quality and adhering to the county’s protections for northeast Pasco.
  6. Pasco firefighter Hunter Garcia, his wife Kayla and their 5-month-old daughter Clara were injured in a four-vehicle collision Friday afternoon. The baby died from her injuries Sunday; Garcia has been released from the hospital while his wife is still recovering. Pasco County Fire Rescue
    Clara Garcia, 5 months old, was secured in her car seat at the time of the four-vehicle crash. Her parents are recovering from their injuries.
  7. Wendell Krinn Technical High School in Pasco County opened in August 2018. The district wants to open an east-side technical high school in 2022. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |
    The past department head was removed over several performance concerns.
  8. An administrative judge said a Pasco County ordinance allowing solar farms in agricultural districts did not violate the county's comprehensive land-use plan. Times
    An ordinance did not violate the county’s land-use plan that is supposed to protect rural Northeast Pasco, a judge said.
  9. Alex Hiscock, 25, left, and Derrick Beers, 23, were riding in a pickup truck Sept. 8 after a night out when it crashed into a tree. Beers died from his injuries. Hiscock was taken to a hospital in serious condition. He was later released with a neck brace and arm cast. [COURTESY OF ALEX HISCOCK]  |  Alex Hiscock
    One man died and his best friend was seriously injured. A week later, troopers are trying to determine who was at the wheel.
  10. Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano removed a Sept. 11 Facebook post after strong public criticism of its contents. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Commissioner Jack Mariano shares a 9/11 social media post that people found offensive. He takes it down. Some want his resignation.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement