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Hundreds show up in support of, and some against, drag queen story time at RO book store

Posted at 10:44 AM, Mar 13, 2023

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

She told me when she arrived downtown, "I pulled up in the garage, and I had five escorts."

Emotions were high as earlier in the week a group called Grand New Party based in Grand Rapids posted that they planned to travel to the book shop to protest the Drag Queen Story Time.

A plan they followed through on Saturday.

Their presence drew in supporters of the Drag Queen Story Time resulting in hundreds of people covering every street corner by the book store on Washington Avenue.

David Robles from Genesee County was among those who was not in support of the story time.

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

Grand New Party posted that they were coming out Saturday because they were "against grooming and the sexualization of children."

To that claim Sapphiree said; "Honestly when I hear that it goes in one year and out the other. Because that’s not what we’re doing."

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

There's many different forms and for her on Saturday, it was about exposure.

"If they grow up around queens and things like this, you won’t grow up with a hateful bone in your body," said Sapphiree.

Robles said, "Pretending to be the other sex and reading to children, that's obviously gonna cause a lot of confusion."

A majority of the crowd Saturday was people who showed up to protest the original protestors.

At times arguments got heated.

2023 is shaping up to be a major year for the trans community specifically in regards to state legislation.

Some states are considering banning gender surgeries for those under the age of 18, transgender women competing in women's sports, what 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 the science, you’re a man or woman, you don’t get to be either or," said Robles. "That’s just the way it is, I don’t want my son to be confused."

Sapphiree said, "We’re not here to be a sexual symbol, we’re not here to hurt anybody, we’re not here to groom anything or put any bad agendas out there. We are here to simply entertain you, that’s it."