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LGBTQ Pride event on the SouthCoast Draws Hundreds of Supporters

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Hayley Fager
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Cities around the country have been celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month for years. But this is the first year Fall River is publicly commemorating Pride. One event in the city on Saturday drew protestors and hundreds of supporters.

Drag queen Naomi Chomsky read to a group of young children in a small community room at the Fall River Public Library.

“Julián loves mermaids,” she read. Then she addressed the group: “I do too, do you?”

Drag Queen Story Hours are just what they sound like. They invite drag queens to read stories to kids. Naomi Chomsky said she was there to celebrate children and celebrate diversity.

“It’s a gender diverse world,” she said, “Why shouldn’t children be aware that it’s not as simple as being a boy or a girl? There’s a lot of identities that land in between. So why not tell children about it?”

Not everyone agrees with her. A group of 20 protestors gathered outside the event. They came from a few nearby churches including the Baptist Temple Church in Fall River, and a nonprofit in Woburn called the Massachusetts Family Institute. They held a sign that said: “Dear God: Let not the little children be perverted by drag queen story hours.”

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Credit Hayley Fager
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Protestors gathered outside a Drag Queen Story Hour at the Fall River Public Library

The protest was organized by a Woburn nonprofit called The Massachusetts Family Institute. The group posted on Facebook last week encouraging people to call the library and request the event be cancelled. A Drag Queen Story Hour planned in Bristol, RI, this month was cancelled due to similar opposition.

News of this planned protest in Fall River drew supporters of the LGBTQ community. Nearly 400 people came to the story hour, organized by FR Pride. Karina Valencia works for the nonprofit and said its mission is to better health outcomes for LGBTQ youth.

“And hopefully we created a space where younger kids who are self-identifying or children of parents who self-identify as LGBTQI, feel safe and supported seeing other families and other kids like theirs,” she said.

Some of the children in the room were dressed up in tutus, rainbow shirts, and unicorn hats. Even though the library was crowded with adults, the children leaned forward, following Chomsky’s every word.

 
This post was edited on June 6, 2019, to include more information about where the protestors' churches are located.