A Montreal-area library is holding firm to its decision to host a storytime event with local drag queen Barbada de Barbades, even after receiving criticism on social media.
Although most commenters on the Dorval Library Facebook page were thrilled by the idea, calling it a demonstration of “tolerance and inclusivity,” others held different views.
Some critics accused the event of promoting “adult material” to young children, while others resorted to what the library called “disparaging remarks” about the LGBTQ+ community.
Despite these comments, the library is sticking to its guns — and so is the City of Dorval.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this. It’s a great opportunity to be more inclusive and to show kids that there’s all kinds of [people] in the world,” Mayor Marc Doret told CTV News.
“I think, in Dorval, we try to be a diverse community, both culturally and otherwise.”
Barbada said the goal of the event is education — not “indoctrination,” as some comments suggested.
“That’s kind of the reason why I do this, to educate [youth] and adults,” she said. “And often, it’s more so adults.”
‘TAKE THE TIME TO OPEN YOUR MIND’
On Facebook, the library denied it was spreading age-inappropriate ideas.
“The books presented were about acceptance of others, tolerance or being different, and were age-appropriate for young children,” they wrote.
Barbada herself is no stranger to educating children — alongside her drag career, she’s also worked as an elementary school music teacher.
“I know how to react with children and guide them into understanding things they don’t understand,” she said.
“In order to respect something you don’t understand, you have to take the time to open your mind,” she said — a reality that applies to people of all ages.
Barbada already hosted a storytime with the library earlier this week and is scheduled to do another on Saturday.
But given the negative comments, Doret said police will attend the upcoming event as a precautionary measure.
“At the end of the day, this an event for families and small children, and we wanted to make sure that everybody could participate in a very safe manner,” he said.
This weekend’s event is fully booked.