Rye Free Reading Room Petition

Rye Free Reading Room Petition

To: Chris Shoemaker, Library Director, and the Board of Trustees of the Rye Free Reading Room, Rye NY
1061 Boston Post Rd., Rye, NY 10580
914-967-0480 | www.ryelibrary.org

As a patron of the Rye Free Reading Room (the “Library”), I am writing to voice my strong opposition to the Library’s promotion of a partisan political agenda aimed at sexualizing children and degrading women.  The program in concern, Drag Queen Story Hour (“DQSH”), originally scheduled to take place on February 8, 2020, in the Children’s Room, invites adult entertainers dressed in drag to read books to children ages three to eight, lead crafts and songs, and facilitate discussions that support and normalize a radical sexual ideology.  These story hours do not be-long in children’s libraries for various reasons, chief among them, including: 

  1. The Library’s support of partisan political activities violates its Policy for Public Use of Library Facilities (the “Public Use Policy”)
    DQSH is a highly political issue with which the Library should not be involved, especially as it is in receipt of public funding. The Library should be a neutral zone, where one ideology is not preferred over another.  Moreover, as a public institution, the Library should be a safe space where children of all backgrounds feel welcome, and where all parents feel comfortable bringing their children.
  2. The Library should not use its privileged position in the community, as a source of knowledge, to subject young children to sexualization of any kind.
    DQSH is highly inappropriate because it aims to introduce children as young as three years old to sexual concepts that are well beyond their understanding (e.g., immodest cross-dressing, homo-sexuality, transsexuality, and gender fluidity).  DQSH’s sexual agenda and mature themes have no place in the Library’s Children’s Room.
  3. The Library’s support of an event exhibiting misogynistic themes violates its “Code of Conduct,” in which the Library commits itself to creating a “safe and pleasant atmosphere” free from “harassment or intimidation of … customers.”
    DQSH is highly offensive to women because drag queens, by definition, “caricature stereotypically vampish women.”1 Drag Queens are hyper-sexualized caricatures of women played by men cross-dressed scantily clad and adorned in heavy make-up.  This event, aimed at an especially impressionable preschool audience, mocks womanhood and debases femininity by over sexualizing women.

Mindful of the above, I strongly urge that the Rye Free Reading Room exercise its power and judgment – laid out in the Library’s Public Use Policy – to stop any future promotion of Drag Queen Story Hour (“DQSH”) at the Library. Thank you.
1“Drag Queen.”  Merriam-Webster.com. 2020. https://www.merriam-webster.com (20 Jan. 2020).

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