The Houston Public Library admitted it made a mistake with a Drag Queen Storytime event it held back in September by allowing a participant who never should’ve been given the green light.
Mass Resistance, an anti-LGBTQ group, was working to dig up dirt on the participants in the event and they discovered that one of the drag queens had been convicted of sexually assaulting a child a decade ago. The library didn’t realize this and allowed Alberto Garza to read a book to children under the stage name Tatiana Mala Nina.
To be clear, nothing problematic occurred at the event itself. No one complained at the time. The issue was his presence at all. They didn’t realize what had happened until the opposition group informed the media about its discovery.
In a statement, the Houston Public Library admits they didn’t do a background check on Garza and said Garza will not be involved in any future library programs.
“In our review of our process and of this participant, we discovered that we failed to complete a background check as required by our own guidelines,” the library said in a statement. “We deeply regret this oversight and the concern this may cause our customers. We realize this is a serious matter.”
It is serious. It is inexcusable. And it’s incredibly frustrating that Garza was outed by a group looking to discredit the storytime event any way they can.
That said, let’s also acknowledge that the problem here wasn’t the Drag Queen Storytime event. It wasn’t drag queens at all. It was the library’s oversight regarding an adult who was volunteering in a youth program. They screwed up, they publicly admitted it, and now they’re apologizing for it.
Not that this nuance was picked up on by the hate group:
“If they had done their job and due diligence, if they had said wait…maybe it’s not a good idea to have a sex offender who at 200 pounds and 5-foot-11 assaulted an 8-year-old boy!” [Mass Resistance’s Tracy] Shannon said.
“We may not all agree that having adult entertainers is the right way to entertain young children or promote literacy and adversity and acceptance and inclusion,” Shannon said, “but we can all agree that it’s inappropriate to have a sex offender. And for someone to not do their due diligence, to have a sex offender entertaining children at the library.“
Mass Resistance is taking this isolated incident and using it to discredit an otherwise perfectly fine program. I hope they don’t end the storytime event just because one participant shouldn’t have been included. The program isn’t the problem. But just as we often see with conservative groups, one bad egg is all it takes for them to generalize about an entire group.
(Screenshot via NewsWest9. Thanks to Brian for the link)