Billed as a way to create a sense of acceptance and tolerance, an event hosted by the city of Chula Vista will welcome drag queens for storytime at a library in Otay Ranch next month. And not everyone is happy about it.

A group known as MassResistance, an anti-LGBTQ organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a hate group, plans to stage a news conference Thursday to demand that the library event be canceled. “Drag Queen Storytime” is set to take place Sept. 10.

MassResistance, which has protested similar events across the country, said in a news release that drag queens “should not be around children.”

“Having illicit, sexually explicit adult entertainers reading to children, billing them as heroes and role models, is just unthinkable and unconscionable,” director Arthur Schaper said.

The group, a self-described pro-family organization, said it has contacted the library and city in an effort to stop the event. The storytime is part of a nationwide program known as Drag Queen Story Hour.

The city of Chula Vista’s website describes the event as an opportunity to “learn the history of drag while encouraging acceptance, being yourself, and loving who you are!”

In response to the push back, Councilman Steve Padilla issued a statement that condemned the criticism.

“I am disappointed that some voices both from inside and outside our community have chosen to use the upcoming Drag Queen Storytime as an opportunity to perpetuate long discredited false and discriminatory narratives targeting the LGBTQ+ community in the name of protecting children,” said Padilla, who became Chula Vista’s first openly-gay elected official when he came out as mayor in 2005.

“This is wrong and must be called out for what it is — the spreading of ignorance, fear and hate,” he said. “Much of this fear mongering is being organized by the local chapter of a nationally known hate-group which promotes not just anti-LGBTQ beliefs, but also anti-immigrant and white supremacist beliefs. These ideas and tactics do not reflect the community I love and serve.

“Despite this, our community’s public spaces are open to all no matter their color, creed or political beliefs. Our libraries are critical to our community’s well-being and serve as places that provide access to a wealth and diversity of information, ideas and thought. This Storytime event is among many designed to foster a love of reading, and most importantly of all, to model the importance of diversity in learning, love and civility.”

MassResistance’s news conference is planned for 1 p.m. at the Civic Center branch library, at 365 F St.

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