A while ago, we brought you this story:
Well, it must be something about Librarys and Drag Queens because today we have another one for you.
And it’s hard to tell which story is more concerning.
Yes folks, you read that headline correctly.
I know that’s a lot to take in, so let’s break it down a bit.
The Houston Public Library thought it would be a good idea to host a “Drag Queen Story hour” to read to kids.
Perhaps that was where things started going wrong.
Now news has broke that one of the “Drag Queens” was not only a Drag Queen but a convicted pedophile.
The Drag Queen volunteered with the kids on at least three occassions, the story confirms.
From Local CBS KHOU:
A registered child sex offender has been reading to children at Houston Public Library as part of its Drag Queen Storytime.
A group called Mass Resistance, which has been trying to put an end to the program, contacted KHOU about the child sex offender.
Mass Resistance claims it had been asking the City of Houston for months to disclose information about the drag queens, and when requests went unanswered, they did their own digging and made the shocking link.
A media spokesperson for the library confirmed one of the program’s drag queens, Tatiana Mala Nina, is Alberto Garza, a 32-year-old child sex offender. In 2008, he was convicted of assaulting an 8-year-old boy.
“Most parents would not allow that individual to sit in this library and be held up as a role model to our children. Shame on you, Mayor (Sylvester) Turner!” said Tracy Shannon with Mass Resistance.
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.”
Protesters say they want more than apologies; they want heads to roll.
“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!” Shannon said.
Drag Queen Storytime’s creators say it’s part of a national program that aims to promote love and acceptance.
In October, opponents sued the library system and Mayor Turner, trying to stop the program. They claim they’re not against the LGBTQ community, but instead, the library’s actions. The lawsuit was dismissed by a judge in January.
Plaintiffs argued the program favors “secular humanism," violating the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause on religion.
“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."
Houston Public Library released the following statement:
“We were made aware today that one participant for Drag Queen storytime who read at the September 29, 2018, Drag Queen Storytime has a criminal background that should have prevented him from participating in the program.
“We assure you that this participant will not be involved in any future HPL programs.
Even Newsweek covered the story:
The Houston Public Library admitted Friday that one of its "Drag Queen Storytime" storytellers was a registered child sex offender. The library said in a statement it "failed to complete a background check as required," leading to a man posing as a drag queen.
"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 stated. "We deeply regret this oversight and the concern this may cause our customers. We realize this is a serious matter."
A spokesperson for the library said that Alberto Garza, 32, has posed as drag queen Tatiana Mala Nina, but was first uncovered by Mass Resistance, a Houstonian group that pledged to end the drag queen reading program.
KHOU, the CBS affiliate in Houston, first reported the Mass Resistance revelation on Friday after the group reported a sex offender had disguised himself and read to children.
"Most parents would not allow that individual to sit in this library and be held up as a role model to our children. Shame on you, Mayor (Sylvester) Turner!" said Mass Resistance member Tracy Shannon.
KHOU reported that Garza assaulted an 8-year-old boy in 2008, and that the library reportedly didn't perform background checks on the queens of the somewhat popular reading program in Houston, which is the fourth-largest populated city in the country.
The Drag Queen Storytime program is an offshoot of a nationwide initiative called "Drag Queen Story Hour" that is supposed to open children's eyes to "unabashedly queer role models," according to its website.
When the program began in Houston during the summer of 2018, some parents thought it was a good idea to expose their children to aspects of life they wouldn't typically see around their homes, like the ones in this news clip from July 2018.
The goodwill gesture didn't sit well, though, with parents whose children could have sat in on these story hours. Though they claimed they had nothing against the LGBTQ community, they wanted better, if any, background checks on the very people who would be trusted near the community's children.
"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," Shannon said.
And though opponents of the program tried to stop it via lawsuit, a judge dismissed it two months ago.
Mass Resistance proponents argued that having entertainers isn't the correct way to promote literacy, but argued more intensely sex offenders shouldn't even be in the picture at all.
"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. "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."
And from ABC News:
The revelation that a registered sex offender participated in a storytime for children might be surprising. And while that volunteer violated library policy three times, we've learned the sex offender may not have done anything illegal by volunteering to work with children.
Drag Queen Storytime, as it's called, started at the request of library regulars. It was a hit.
"The library is one of the most trusted organizations in our community," said the Houston Public Library Executive Director, Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson. "It's supported by a wide range of people from different walks of life. "
The storytime's popularity has grown. It's now hosted in a nearby church to accommodate the large crowds. But it also has its critics.
There was protest over the program in October outside the Montrose library branch. There was a lawsuit, which was dismissed, but then the library revealed Albert Garza, a registered sex offender, was among those participating. He served time for aggravated sexual assault of an 8-year-old in 2008.