Ketchikan, Alaska (KINY) — The Ketchikan City Council voted 5-2 Thursday against an ordinance to cancel Drag Queen Story Hour at the Ketchikan Public Library.
The ordinance, written by City Council member Riley Gass, would have removed Story Time from the library’s list of events.
Council members Riley Gass and Jai Mahtani voted to scrap the event.
Public comments were heard on both sides of the issue.
Resident Tamela Cegelski addressed the council first.
“I think this Story Hour drag queen is really inappropriate,” Cegelski said. “It sexualizes children. I think it prepares children and indoctrinates children. I have nothing against an LGBT community or person, I live by the judge lest you be judged. However, I have made sure that my daughter had a Christian upbringing because that’s what our country is founded on. And that’s where my belief lies. And when I pledge allegiance to the flag, I always believe that there should be a prayer to school…for me, I think the battle is more spiritual, and, and much more serious Drag queens are not representative of the gay community.
Jen Tucker told the council the issue was personal to her and her family.
“When my daughter was six, I looked at my husband and said, ‘she’s different,’” Tucker said. “After a while, he saw it too. We made the choice as parents not to say anything to let her flourish, at her own pace. We didn’t want to push her, especially because we might be wrong. So we left it to him to choose his own path. We kept silent. Fast forward seven years, and we weren’t wrong. She is different. Our daughter came out as a lesbian. Unfortunately, it was under duress. She had gone down south to visit my very religious family. While there she overheard the family talking about how all gay people would go to hell, how gay people should never be allowed to marry, how gay people aren’t real people. She went home feeling like she had no right to be alive.”
David Dettinger says canceling the event would have been a mistake, adding: “When Riley Gass and the people here who support this lewd prescription return to the arcs of their lives, the attempt to silence a Drag Queen Story Hour will will she really rank high I’ve never spoken in a public forum before in Ketchikan I’m a little conflict averse and more than a little nervous about the consequences of challenging the good old boy network who runs this place. Tonight I break my silence to say this. Everyone here has the right to participate fully in our community. We are all true Alaskans here.
Ann Graham Bradford says children are sexualized by events like the Drag Queen Story Hour.
“I urge you to cancel the drag queen story time at the library,” Bradford said. “Children in our country are already confused about their bodies, through everything they see and hear in today’s culture. You’ve probably heard of the widespread phenomenon happening today, in especially among young girls, who suddenly decide they are transgender. Why is this the current trend among teenagers and young adults? In earlier eras, there were vaping and fainting. And recently we know that there was widespread eating disorders. And now the trend is to be transgender. And there are thousands of young people, mostly girls who decide that they are transgender. And why is this happening now? Well , some studies, as you probably know, have shown that it’s because of the influence of culture, especially the internet these days, and peer pressure.”
City Attorney Mitch Seaver previously told council that canceling the event could be illegal.