During a time where RuPaul’s Drag Race is taking over the television and drag queens are launching iconic careers, in parts of Georgia, some aren’t too keen at drag queen pop-up appearances.
According to the AJC, Steven Igarashi-Ball, who performs in drag as Miss Terra Cotta Sugarbaker, said he was confused that the Alpharetta Library Branch dropped his drag storytime event from their calendar.
Library system spokeswoman Jessica Corbit-Dominquez tells AJC that the event wasn’t canceled. However, no one has explained its removal from the calendar. According to Sugarbaker’s Facebook page, the library will allow another story time event to go on as planned on April 27 where all 180 spots have already been reserved.
Igarashi-Ball told the AJC he’s been reading to children of all ages at the Ponce de Leon Avenue branch, typically once every two months since September 2017. The events remain popular, he said.
Mayor Keisha Bottoms saw the story and quickly tweeted her support and enthusiasm to bring drag story time to downtown Atlanta. “Miss Terra Cotta Sugarbaker and all of our LGBTQ friends are always welcome at Atlanta City Hall,” Bottoms stated. “How about we host your next story hour? @CityofAtlanta let’s make it happen!”
The story hasn’t gone unnoticed in the community with a slew of support for and against Bottoms and her decision to step up to the plate. She says though, her support of the event reflects in the way she’s raised her children.
“For my kids, it was never a thing. It’s not something they take issue to because they’ve been exposed to it at a very early age,” she said. “I think that’s what story time is all about and opening up our kids to people who may look different or may present differently.”
Bottoms’, an avid supporter of LGBTQ rights since taking office in at the beginning of 2018, has led the way in creating a more inclusive environment throughout the city. Her invitation to Sugarbaker is just another step in making diversity a top priority in her administration.
“I think it’s about who we are as a welcoming city. We can’t just say we are a welcoming city. We need to reflect that in our actions,” she said. “It helps erase some of the discrimination and hatred.”
After the “cancellation” of the event, Sugarbaker took to Facebook thanking supporters and fighters of her drag story time after stating she’d reschedule for a future date.
“This event will happen because hundreds, maybe even thousands, of citizens made their voices heard. I am grateful for every phone call, email, social media post, and private conversation,” she said. “This event isn’t about drag queens. This event is about creativity, self-expression, freedom of speech, and tolerance. Thank you for agreeing that those are hallmarks of the community we want to live in.”