SLCC will no longer host the Drag Queen Story Time event, citing security concerns.
It’s organized by UL’s Delta Lambda Phi Fraternity and the Lafayette Public Library but was moved to SLCC last week, because organizers were expecting a big crowd.
In a statement Thursday, SLCC acknowledged larger than anticipated crowds, and information provided to the college by Lafayette Police, including individual and organized plans to protest on a large scale.
To read SLCC’s and the library’s full statements, click here.
So what’s next?
According to the library, the story time is being postponed because of the last minute loss of venue, not permanently canceled.
Organizers are calling this a “temporary setback,” and so is one of the drag queens who was set to perform on Saturday.
“My stage name is Santana Pilar Andrews,” but when not in drag, his name is Dylan Pontiff.
“Just as a singer can sing and a dancer can dance, I can use this art form to also help kids deal with the things that I dealt with when I was younger. You know, I was bullied at a young age for being an effeminate man,” said Pontiff. “I think allowing me to use the art of drag to help kids understand that inclusiveness and empathy and passion is super important in not only accepting themselves but also the people around them.”
Since Drag Queen Story Time was announced in Lafayette, Pontiff and others have received support, but also a lot of backlash.
From negative comments on social media to the most recent council meeting on the subject, where a majority in attendance spoke against the event.
The opposition hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Oh, that I’m a pedophile, I’m a pervert, I’ve been called ‘it,’ I’ve been called disgusting, just to name a few,” he said hearing all of these comments has been “disappointing, hurtful, but not shocking.”
However, despite the threats and controversy surrounding the event, Pontiff says the story time program is meant to be a positive experience for kids.
“Number one and the main point is for kids to come to an event and have fun. But also allowing them to look at each other and understand that the world is different from what they have been subjected to in their short amount of time of living,” he explained. “This could be anything that involves someone being different, like race, religion, disability. It could be understanding that those don’t all fall into someone’s idea of normal but it doesn’t mean it’s a negative thing.”
Members of the fraternity tell KATC’s that they are hoping to do something for people who planned to come on Saturday, but they don’t exactly what that will be just yet.
We also reached out to UL to see if the university had any plans to offer a venue, a spokesman said, “We are not aware of any plans at this time.”