WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — A children’s event was at the center of a protest in Winston-Salem Saturday afternoon.
Bookmarks hosted a drag queen story time ahead of the city’s pride parade. The event drew large crowds after the Forsyth County Republican Men’s Club announced it would host a protest outside the store.
People cheered and welcomed children as they entered Bookmarks for a pride event.
“Queer culture is really important, especially during pride month and these types of things,” said Owen Zalesak, who attended the event. “Why are we protesting a man in a dress?”
The drag queen story time, centered around kids ages three to seven, got a lot of attention after protesters announced they wanted to share their stance against the event.
“The kids just shouldn’t be a part of it,” said a man who asked to be referred to as White Shark. “That’s my total belief and that’s the only reason I’m here. Not for the gay pride parade. I believe in equality completely, but there comes a time you’ve got to draw the line and I think they’ve crossed it with the children.”
The group of about five protesters motivated hundreds to come out in support.
“It’s just something fun for the kids to get to do and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to do that,” said Sophia Dorsey, who supported the storytime.
In preparation for the protest, Pride Winston-Salem asked police officers to patrol, making sure everyone stayed peaceful. It didn’t stop parents from bringing their children out.
“This isn’t a controversial idea,” said Christopher Smith, who brought his children to the event. “Kids love it and my kids loved it and they enjoyed it today and I was happy to be a part of it.”
Smith has two kids, ages six and eight. They were part of the group, which filled inside of bookmarks and listened to two stories read by drag queen Anna Yacht.
“Part of being a parent is introducing your kids to new people, new ideas, people that may look different than them, people that maybe think differently, believe different from them and so being a part of that was important to my family,” said Smith.
Saturday’s protest was just one of many against pride events across the country.
“Gay culture has been around forever and it’s going to be around forever and it’s something we should all support,” said Zalesak.
Scuppernong Books in Greensboro is hosting a drag queen story time next Saturday. As of now, the owners haven’t heard of any groups planning to protest. They tell FOX8 they will get security if they hear of any threats.