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Drag Queen Story Hour event organizer: ‘It’s a way to get a conversation started’

An LGBTQ group in Mobile is set to host Drag Queen Story Hour in two weeks, where children will have stories read to them by a local drag queen before they finish with a craft making session.

The event, put on by Rainbow Mobile, has caused a significant amount of controversy to bubble up in recent days, as disapproving citizens have taken to county commission and city council meetings to express themselves.

“It is wrong to use a public forum like the library for this Drag Queen Story Hour because the library gives it credibility,” Pastor Fred Wolfe of Mobile’s Luke 4:18 Fellowship said at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

Wolfe went on to refer to LGBTQ lifestyles as unacceptable.

Bryan Fuenmayor, Rainbow Mobile’s executive director, told Yellowhammer News that he looks at the position which Wolfe and others take as one of ignorance.

“I view it as ignorance, because a lot of people believe that it’s a choice, that it’s a lifestyle,” he said. “If it was a choice, I would be married with a woman and have kids right now and I’d still have my family.”

Fuenmayor, who was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, has been shunned from his family ever since he came out as gay five years ago.

He said primary aim in hosting the event is to promote literacy.

“Children love being read to,” he said. “We need to encourage reading to our kinds and society. We need to bring back more support for libraries.”

He also said he hopes the event will teach acceptance to the children, bringing up a friend of his who committed suicide because of the stigma associated with his gay lifestyle.

“My ultimate aim, from personal experience, it to curtail bullying in schools,” he said. “A lot of kids, they tend to bully kids who are different from them. So we want to try to prevent that.”

Another reason Fuenmayor decided to put on the event is to incite dialogue between people who disagree about LGBTQ issues.

“I believe that if we create an open dialogue with folks and tell them our life stories and experiences that they’ll overcome that ignorance and fear,” he said.

“It’s a way to get a conversation started,” he said.

Fuenmayor said that since news broke about the event, he’s already had a friend who has spoken to one Mobile pastor who has been outspoken against the event taking place, although Fuenmayor did not name the pastor.

More than 100 adults have RSVP’d for the event, not to count their children, and the event room has a capacity of only sixty.

“A lot of folks are traveling from out of town, from Pensacola, Montgomery, Birmingham, even from Huntsville because this is the first kind of event in the state of Alabama,” Fuenmayor said. “I would hate for them to come all this way and turn them away.”

Rainbow Mobile is trying to secure the meeting room for an overflow event if attendance exceeds capacity.

Read more here.

@jeremywbeaman, a native of Huntsville, is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News