New Event Aims to Create More Family-Friendly Pride Celebration in Athens< < Back to
ATHENS, Ohio — Drag performers read books about gender diversity and expression to children at the Athens Public Library on Wednesday night.
The event took place in the bubble and music filled meeting room of the Athens Public Library, where local drag performers Frankie Danielle and ShaVaughn Peterson read to a large crowd.
In addition to storytime, kids participated in crafts where they constructed rainbow crowns and streamer wands, which were promptly used during a dance party with the drag performers. The evening concluded with another story reading from the drag queens.
The first event of its kind in Athens, the idea of including Drag Queen Storytime in Pride Fest came from the expressed desire for more ‘family oriented’ activities following last year’s Pride Fest.
Dr. Amy White, executive director of the Southeastern Ohio LGBTQ Center and Coalition, explained that the inspiration for Drag Queen Storytime came from the success other bigger cities, namely Columbus, experienced with similar events. She said, “We didn’t want pride to just be for the adults this year.”
“It’s been both an educational opportunity and a fun gathering.” White continued, “The youngsters can get used to the idea that there are drag queens in the world. The books introduce them to what it means to be transgender.”
Pride Fest organizers hope that this event shows support to the Athens LGBTQ community.
“There’s a lot of families who have LGBT kids, or kids who are exploring their identities and how to express that,” said delfin bautista, director of the Ohio University LGBT Center. “We want these families to feel that they are not alone.”
The event was briefly interrupted by a lone heckler who was quickly escorted out of the room by community members before the event organizers were forced to intervene.
But bautista views the response to the interruption as a sign of progress.
“As an LGBT member, it was inspiring to see the community united [in dealing with the protester],” they said.
“I think this also shows how times are changing…the community responding how they did gives us hope that things are getting better.”
The event comes in the middle of Athens’s second Pride Fest, which takes place during the nationally celebrated Pride Week. Athens Pride Fest is a combined effort of the Southeastern Ohio LGBTQ Center & Coalition and the Ohio University LGBT Center.
A full schedule for Pride Fest events can be found at WOUB’s Community Calendar.
Editor’s note: delfin bautista uses they/them pronouns.