While a Calgary pastor says drag storytime events are indoctrination, supporters say the events are one of many programs offered with the goal of diverse learning experiences.

Pastor Derek Reimer – who was arrested this month for disrupting a drag storytime – told True North he is compelled to be assertive in protesting the events because he feels children are being indoctrinated.

“If adults want to engage in the adult entertainment of drag, that’s their decision. They’re consenting adults,” Reimer told True North. “Although when you involve a little child, now that’s the innocent.”

Reimer said the belief system that anyone can be who they want to be – involving sexuality and identity – should be contained to adults. He said it’s inappropriate to present children with role models who tout these ideas, and often participate in sexualized shows at separate venues.

“The drag queen story hour that I attended, it wasn’t near as vile as some of the strip-club type drag queen events I’ve seen online,” said Reimer. “But it’s going in that direction. So if we know that’s where it’s headed, let’s abandon. Let’s abort.”

Reimer said supporters who think the events are helping children are misguided – but not everybody sees it that way.

Calgary Public Library spokesperson Mary Kapusta told True North the events are one of many offerings that serve an overarching goal of diverse and inclusive learning experiences. 

“By providing our members with a diverse array of programs and services, we hope to cultivate an environment where everyone can learn, discover and explore ideas and information,” she said.

A statement from the library earlier this month said Reimer’s disruption pushed the boundary of protest, and amounted to intimidating, disruptive behaviour around small children.

Kapusta said organizers plan to continue hosting events safely, and hopes attendees will feel the intended message of love, acceptance and respect.