West Warwick, RI— As clouds gathered over the West Warwick public library, so too did nearly one hundred individuals gather around the exterior of the building to respond to the controversial drag story hour program happening inside. Dueling rallies, with over sixty people opposing the story hour and around thirty supporting, were held on Saturday. The issue at hand for the citizens of West Warwick is whether or not it is morally acceptable to expose children ages zero to six to the inherently sexual content of a drag performance.
“It’s essential that Rhode Islanders stand against these outrageously brazen attempts to indoctrinate our children into an immoral and dangerous ideology. It’s a matter of protecting the innocence of Rhode Island children,” said Kara Young, a mother. “Our physical presence and our praying of the Holy Rosary outside of the West Warwick library today surely planted the seeds of truth in some who attended while also serving to demonstrate the very significant opposition that Rhode Islanders have to these types of events.”
On one side, progressive activists were organized as part of “Parasol Patrol,” a nationally active nonprofit that according to their event page was there to oppose a hate group. Instead, they used multicolored umbrellas in an attempt to prevent children from seeing approximately sixty citizens, mostly Catholics, peacefully protesting and praying the rosary for the sake of the children being forced to attend the event by adults.
The Parasol Patrol protest was promoted online by library staff member Rashaa Al-Sasah.
This reporter was denied entrance into the building by West Warwick library staff. The library’s policy is to officially exclude members of the press from seeing what transpired during the story hour event leaving questions open as to the content of the program. It is unclear why the library would want to keep the public from knowing what is happening during the actual story hour.
According to promotional materials, the event features two drag queen performers known as Ninny Nothin and Randi Xtra Xtra.
The Ninny Nothin instagram account, run by performer Johnny Sederquist, displays numerous sexually explicit and anti-Catholic bigoted images. One video on the account contains Sederquist cradling an artificial phallus like a child while claiming to be Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus. He has appeared in films such as “Accidental Incest” and “Strapped for Danger II: Undercover Vice.”
Dr. Claude Curran, MD is a Psychiatry Specialist from Rhode Island and works in Massachusetts. Like many other parents, he is concerned about the mental damage that could be done to children.
“Why are we introducing kids to aberrant sexual behavior? Drag Queens Story Hours can harm children, because they already come from homes that don’t trust men. When you get the history of many mothers, you’d understand,” said Dr. Curran. “In my practice, I’ve treated thousands of patients that have been molested as children, changing the trajectory of their lives, and this is a betrayal of them. This establishes a bond and introduces them into non-heteronormative sexual behavior. When you consider all the talk of cultural appropriation, why are we so accepting of gender appropriation?”
Drag Queen Story Hours are part of national trend. On the official Drag Queen Story Hour website, they list a chapter in Rhode Island. At Rogers Free Library in Bristol, a drag queen story hour event scheduled for June 15, 2019 was canceled and then rescheduled after protests and counter-protests.
Of the following two issues related to Rhode Island’s public schools, which one is a greater concern?