Hundreds turn out in support of and against the drag queen story time

ROYAL OAK — Sirinity Sapphiree is one of three drag queens who read to children Saturday afternoon at the Sidetrack Bookshop in Downtown Royal Oak.

She told me when she arrived downtown, “I pulled up in the garage and I had five companions.”

Emotions ran high when a group called the Grand New Party, based in Grand Rapids, posted earlier this week that they planned to travel to the bookstore to protest Drag Queen Story Time.

A plan they followed through on Saturday.

Their presence drew supporters to the Drag Queen Story Time, resulting in hundreds of people covering every street corner at the Washington Avenue bookstore.

David Robles of Genesee County was among those who did not support the story.

He told our team: “What adults do behind closed doors is one thing, but I don’t think my child should be exposed to that.”

The Grand New Party wrote that they came out on Saturday because they were “against the care and sexualization of children.”

To that assertion Sapphiree said; “Honestly, when I hear it’s in one year and out the next. Because that’s not what we do.”

Sapphiree said there’s a misconception that drag is sexual, and that’s not always the case.

There are many different forms, and for her on Saturday it was all about exposure.

“If they grow up around queens and stuff, you won’t grow up with a hateful bone in your body,” Sapphiree said.

Robles said, “Pretending to be the other gender and reading to kids, that’s obviously going to cause a lot of confusion.”

A majority of the crowd Saturday were people who showed up to protest the original protesters.

At times the discussions became heated.

2023 is shaping up to be a big year for the trans community, especially in terms of state legislation.

Some states are considering banning genital surgery for people under 18, transgender women competing in women’s sports, which bathrooms transgender people can use and more.

Inside Saturday’s story time, the books may have been about unicorns and rocket ships, but outside it was about the future generation.

“When you trust science, you’re a man or a woman, you can’t be either or,” Robles said. “It’s just that I don’t want my son to be confused.”

Sapphiree said: “We’re not here to be a sex symbol, we’re not here to hurt anyone, we’re not here to nurture anything or put any bad agendas out there. We’re simply here to entertain you, that’s that .”

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