Conflicting protests planned for Kelowna’s Drag Queen Story Time today | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Conflicting protests planned for Kelowna’s Drag Queen Story Time today

Drag Story Time at Okanagan Regional Library Kelowna branch.

Two camps divided on whether children should have stories read to them by a man dressed as a woman at a library in Kelowna are expected to meet at the event today.

The strife is over a Drag Story Time event that Freida Whales is hosting at 11 a.m.

“Drop-in for stories and songs that celebrate diversity and freedom of expression,” according to the event details. “Come dressed to impress (costumes encouraged)!”

READ MORE: How Drag Story Time became a thing at Kelowna’s downtown library

Not everyone is comfortable that a public space is being used to host the contentious activity. More than 5,000 signed the petition titled “STOP Taxpayer Funded Drag Queen Sexualization of Children” on

The petition is critical of the performer’s history, it points out how “openly gay Kelowna city councillor” Loyal Woodridge is on the board of the Okanagan Regional Library.

“The amendment to the Human Rights Code to include ‘gender identity and gender expression’ as a protected class is not an open invitation nor defense, for men with adult sexual proclivities to have access to, or permit them to sexualize and exploit, children,” the petition says. It calls for the City of Kelowna to stop funding and promoting drag queen story time, and beyond what goes on at the library, the petition also calls for Tyson Cook (Freida Whales' real name)'s employer to assess whether he is suitable for his career in education.

The organizers, Action4Canada, said their first attempt at a petition was removed from because that website considered it hate speech.

Supporters of the Action4Canada petition are invited to join a "peaceful" gathering at the library beginning at 10 a.m.

To counteract the haters, “drag defenders” have been called upon by Kelowna Pride. An Open Hearts Rally is beginning at the library at 10:15 a.m. to support the queer community and show Freida Whales some love.

“Bring your love, flags, placards, and support to drown out the hate,” according to the event.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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