Kansas library board divided on whether to let sex offenders present at libraries
WICHITA, Kansas, August 23, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A library board in Kansas finds itself divided on a proposal to automatically bar registered sex offenders from participating in presentations at public libraries following outcry over the records of some Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) performers.
After an event last year in which drag queens read pro-LGBT stories to children at Wichita’s Advanced Learning Library, the community’s library board is currently debating a proposal to automatically disqualify convicted sex offenders from presenting at libraries in the area.
“It’s clear why they’re checking for sex offenses only: they’re trying to label the LGBT population in this city as sex offenders, which is offensive in and of itself,” Equality Kansas director Thomas Witt claimed, the Wichita Eagle reported. ““These are public presentations in one of the most open and public places in the city of Wichita. I doubt very seriously it’s a venue for predators.”
During a board meeting this week, members largely agreed on screening prospective presenters against the registry, but some argued that a conviction shouldn’t be an automatic disqualifier, depending on the circumstances.
Jonathan Winkler argued for allowing the “flexibility to work around” situations where what’s illegal in one state may not be elsewhere, such as consensual, adult same-sex relations (some states still have their old anti-sodomy laws on the books, but they cannot be enforced due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling).
Library director Cynthia Berner, meanwhile, said she opposed letting sex offenders present to children but wanted to leave open the possibility of letting them participate in adults-only conversations.
“Numerous incidents are being reported (nationwide) involving inappropriate contact between drag queen story hour participants and innocent children,” argued Pastor Craig Coffey, who protested last year’s drag event and led the push for the new rule. “Those of us opposing these types of ill-advised programming policies are not surprised, as we see this as a natural consequence of the LGBTQ agenda as it is directed toward progressive liberal indoctrination of our children.”
Among these examples of “inappropriate contact” are drag queens teaching kids to twerk and soliciting their email addresses, having children lay on them, and promoting homosexuality and gender fluidity. Some events have also come under fire for featuring performers behind X-rated skits involving children’s characters, and for attracting radical transgender protesters.
The San Francisco-based Drag Queen Story Hour program describes its express purpose as capturing the “imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood” and giving children “unabashedly queer role models.” Louisiana drag queen Dylan Pontiff admits the events are about “the grooming of the next generation.”
The Wichita board ultimately voted to return the proposal to its operations committee for additional tweaking before a final decision is made.