Earlier this year, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (and the Children’s Museum) cancelled Drag Queen Story Hour in June as a response to vague threats by anonymous rightwing anti-LGBTQ (and anti-drag) crusaders. It was a dark hour for Pittsburgh.
But CLP promised that they would bring it back in the Fall. If you take a look at the website, there is no mention of Drag Queen Story Hour anywhere, just the historical events.
CLP spokesperson Suzanne Thinnes told the Pgh Current earlier this year “We are very proud to offer this program and we fully intend on bringing it back next season,” Thinnes said. “But in this instance, we had to put safety first.”
Most people assume that because of the traditional summer break, ‘next season’ referred to the fall of 2019, when school starts back up, right? That’s what I assumed.
I went to the CLP website and could find no reference of any future DQSH events. I reached out to CLP and was told by CLP spokesperson Molly Bennett:
“We are very proud of our Drag Queen Story Hour and we plan to offer the program to families in 2020. “
I reached out to DQSH coordinator Akasha L Van-Cartier. She confirmed that she has not been contacted to schedule future events and referred me to the CLP for further information.
Given the prominence of current efforts to unionize the library workforce and the unforseen resistence by CLP management, perhaps it is not surprising that the LGBTQ event fell to the wayside. Union busting and queer erasure do tend to go hand in hand.
I’m also pretty sure that my inbox is going to be filled with messages from library staff defending their queer cultural competence and howling with outrage about my last sentence. This happens every single time I write about the library.
Next season must mean 2020, but it seems those events should already be scheduled – especially considering the fact that Akasha has her own schedule and there are many other events taking place. My suspicion is that someone dropped the ball internally on rescheduling and now we are watching a mad scramble to set things right while distracting us from any possible critical assessment of the institution.
So let’s all keep an eye out for the library’s anouncement that they are bringing Akasha back on a monthly schedule to offer this delightful program to the community. And if they need any support dealing with the haters, they can call on me and others in the LGBTQ community to stand with them to protect this valuable resource.
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