EVANSVILLE — Local media reported that two groups, for and against, protested over a Drag Queen Story Hour at the Evansville-Vandeburgh Public Library on Monday night.
WEHT-TV in Evansville reported that a group that supported a city councilman’s comments against the story hour had a rally at the city’s civic center. They were joined by a group that supported the story hour.
Around 4:00 p.m. a group against the library’s Drag Queen Story Hour gathered outside the Civic Center, positioning themselves and their signs right in front of our cameras in hopes of getting their message out.
When Eyewitness News Brandon Bartlett tried talking to a member of that group who wanted to speak on camera, she was immediately silenced by other members of the group.
“I’m here to make a statement,” the woman said to us before another member of the group pulled her away from the camera, ordering her not to talk. Another man in that same group yelled, “We don’t have no comment, so you need to step back.”
Although this group wanted publicity, oftentimes holding their signs right in front of our cameras, the woman wanting to speak was told the group’s leader didn’t want her to speak or to give her opinion.
That woman then put down her sign and walked away, leaving the group behind.
Those there in support of the Drag Queen Story Hour were more vocal about the issue.
“It’s been nationally recognized for a while now and I don’t know why people are making such a big deal about it now,” said Shane Betz, who supports the event.
The Evansville Courier & Press reported that 25 people protested against the story hour with signs that said, “Stop targeting our children” or “You can’t catch the gay.” The city councilman, Justin Elpers, has been vocal about his opposition to the event, including starting a petition. However, the city council has no say in the events or the library board, a countywide body.
While in many places have had the story hours with no uproar, Evansville is one of a few smaller cities in conservative areas that have had some resistance. Tri-State Alliance, an LGBTQ rights group covering the Tri-State area of Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky, has been active in supporting the event, including taking part in the counterprotest, going to EVPL board meetings and running their own petitions.