A zoo out in Montana is finding itself in the crosshairs of quite a bit of criticism after scheduling a “Drag Queen Story Hour” as an event for Pride month.
Out in Billings, Montana, ZooMontana has planned the event for June 22nd, which has severely upset quite a few people in the local community.
“Why are we putting such a contentious issue right in the heart of that area?” stated Jenna McKinney, the founder of the Montana Family Rights Alliance, as part of a video call held this past Thursday.
“This is not appropriate. We really don’t appreciate this in our community and especially at this venue,” she stated.
Despite intense concerns from McKinney and quite a few others, the director of ZooMontana, Jeff Ewalt, has stated that they have no plans to cancel the event.
“We have heard from many of you in regard to the 406 Pride Drag Queen Story Hour being held at the Zoo later this month. Let me be clear – ZooMontana prides itself in being inclusive of all living beings. 406 Pride is a respected and valued community asset, one we are proud to support and host at ZooMontana,” the director claimed in a post to Facebook that went out on Thursday.
“While personal threats and threats of no longer supporting the Zoo are concerning, we will not let unwarranted fear and hate deter our decision to move forward with this harmless and fun reading event that is held throughout the country. At the end of the day, if your personal agenda does not fit this event, we simply ask that you do not come to the Zoo that day. It would be a shame to never allow your children back to the Zoo because of one simple event. Happy Pride month,” continued the post.
That report comes in the wake of a long line of Drag Queen Story Hour events taking place nationwide in honor of Pride Month.
Additionally, a group of four Colorado elementary schools’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion groups grouped up in order to promote and host a drag queen story hour that took place earlier this month.
Erie, Colorado’s Meadowlark Elementary School’s Parent, Teacher, and Student Association committee first stated that their DEI committee would partner up with the DEI groups from three other elementary schools from Erie in order to take part in the very first Pride celebration in the town’s history.
“Happy Pride Month! Please join and celebrate with us!!” stated the DEI committee of Meadowlark Elementary in a Facebook post on the 1st of June, claiming that “all are welcomed to join in the celebration.”
In quite a few of these instances, the response from the public against these events has led to their cancellations. Such was the case when a mayor in North Carolina announced at the start of the month that a planned “Drag Queen Story Hour” event had been canceled.
A former captain of the Apex Police Department and the current Mayor of APex, Jacques Gilbert, stated via a Facebook message that the event had been officially shut down in the wake of giving feedback to the community about the festival commission hosting the event.
“Given that this part of the event was not originally presented when the event was proposed, I met with representatives from the organizations hosting the event, the Apex Festival Commission, and presented the feedback I have received from citizens,” stated Gilbert. “Today I was notified that the Apex Festival Commission has taken the feedback into careful consideration and has decided to remove the Drag Queen Story Hour from the event.”
“It continues to be my goal to ensure that all voices in our community are represented,” claimed the mayor to his voter base, before adding that he had “received a variety of feedback regarding the Drag Queen Story Hour.”