Drag Queen Story Time event sparks protests at Royal Oak bookstore

Supporters, protesters gathered at Sidetrack Bookshop

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – Sidetrack Bookshop in Royal Oak held a children’s event called Drag Queen Story Time on Saturday, which led to protests from both supporters and opponents of the event.

The bookstore owners were defending their decision to hold the storytelling event, which features drag queens reading to children.

“We have created a bit of a kerfuffle,” co-owner Jenny Carney said. “There are a lot of people in the world who apparently don’t know what drag queen story time is but drag queen story time is a celebration of being your true self.”

A conservative group from Grand Rapids came to the event to protest it, accusing the store of grooming and sexualizing children.

“We are against this. Drag queens do not have the right to sexually groom kids,” one protester said.

The handful of protesters were outnumbered by anti-protesters that came out in support of the event and the LGBTQ+ community.

“All we’re doing is getting dressed up and entertaining children,” a supporter of the event said. Activists supporting the LGBTQ+ community held signs and chanted for the group criticizing the event to leave.

Parents bringing their children to the event found themselves caught in the middle of the controversy, but many still attended the event and enjoyed it. One parent said that her child had attended the event before and loved it.

Royal Oak police were present at the scene to keep the peace, and a spokesperson for the city said that they were pleased with how everything went, providing a safe space for everyone to speak their minds.

Below is a statement from the Royal Oak Public Library:

About the Authors:

Jacqueline Francis is an award-winning journalist who joined the WDIV team in September 2022. Prior to Local 4, she reported for the NBC affiliate in West Michigan. When she’s not on the job, Jacqueline enjoys taking advantage of all the wonders Michigan has to offer, from ski trips up north to beach days with her dog, Ace.

Morgan is a Digital Editor and has been with WDIV since May of 2022. She is also studying political science and communications at Wayne State University.