Merida, Yucatan — Bowing to pressure from conservatives, organizers have disinvited two drag queens from a children’s book fair.
Performers Kimmy Bomba and Dodi Maleanta were scheduled Sunday to replicate their “Drag Queen Story Hour,” which has been a phenomenon throughout the U.S. and was recently introduced to Merida.
Proponents say the concept of a man in outlandish feminine costume and makeup heading up a child’s story time promotes diversity and inclusion. But not everyone is on board, and even perceive a plot.
When FILIJ announced the segment, social media lit up with violent threats and comments such as “they were going to homosexualize or confuse children.” Many invoked religious doctrine to justify their rejection of the concept.
Dodi Maleanta said that threatening and hateful comments came from Facebook accounts linked with the “save both lives” anti-abortion campaign.
Organizers then announced that “due to a wave of comments from people against our project we do not want to risk the families and girls who attend the fair to enjoy a healthy reading hour”
“We believe in the need for inclusive and family spaces to encourage reading where everyone feels safe and in the best of environments,” they stressed.
What was not clear is whether the decision was made by local organizers of the fair, its sponsors or the federal government.
The Drag Queen Story Hour Merida page replied on an upbeat note.
“The Drag Queen Story Hour will continue,” reads the post. “We look forward to your support, dissemination and assistance to continue building human beings that respect, tolerate and love.”
The fair begins today and runs through Nov. 10 at the Parque de la Paz and other venues such as the Alternative Forum “Rubén Chacón” and the Issste Cultural Center. It is run under the auspices of the City of Merida, the Federal Ministry of Culture, the Economic Culture Fund and the civil association Leer por Placer, or Read for Pleasure.