The Town of Parker’s Library Advisory Board has tabled discussion of the proposed Drag Story Hour at the library until their Sept. 12 meeting. They said they needed to get more information on it, with some members said they had not been made aware this event would be taking place.
Interim Town Manager Amy Putnam said the event, which had been scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 27, has been postponed indefinitely.
The board’s decision came following a public hearing at their Aug. 8 meeting. Several residents from the community spoke out about the proposed event. Unlike the Aug. 2 Town Council meeting, where every speaker except one spoke on favor of the event, the Aug. 8 Library Board meeting saw many people speaking out against the event.
Supporters of the event said this would show Parker is a welcoming and inclusive community, and it would be an opportunity for children to learn about people who are different from themselves.
Opponents said they were concerned about the sexualization of children, that this would cause confusion in their minds, and was not something appropriate for young children.
When it was time for the Board to discuss the matter, Putnam said their goal was to bring good programs to the library. She said this matter needed to be discussed by the Board in a professional manner.
Board Member Janet Carlson said she felt “blindsided” by this as it was not discussed at the Board’s July meeting. She didn’t know about it until she saw it listed in the Parker Pioneer.
“I feel this was done behind our backs,” she said.
Library Director Tracy McConnell said the event wasn’t discussed at the July meeting as it hadn’t been scheduled yet.
In response to a question from Carlson, McConnell said she had some understanding the event could be controversial. Carlson said, if that were the case, it should have been discussed with the Board.
Board Member Mesena Tunnell-Gilbert said she had no opinion on the matter, but she added the library needed to be concerned about the opinions of others. She motioned the Board discuss the matter at a later date so the members can gather information and be better prepared.
The Board voted to table the matter until their Sept. 12 meeting.
The event was scheduled to feature Vivika D’Angelo, who is listed as an entertainer currently based in Tucson. D’Angelo was Miss Gay Tucson in 2008.