Voters in a Republican-leaning Illinois suburb of Saint Louis opposed drag queen shows at libraries and public schools by a 40-point margin in last week’s elections. According to the Madison County clerk’s office, 69 percent of Glen Carbon, Illinois residents voted “no” this year on the ballot question: “Shall tax-supported libraries and schools promote drag queen events to minors?”
Two libraries in Illinois suburbs east of Saint Louis featured drag performers in June, and a third featured a virtual drag show last year. One of the drag performers did an adults-only event at the Glen Carbon public library, as well as an event for children openly marketed to those as young as “toddlers.” In response, local pastors and residents held peaceful protests, gained local and national media attention, and gathered signatures to place the question on this year’s ballot.
“If sexualizing and sexually grooming children isn’t your bright line for the church to speak publicly, I want to know what your bright line is,” local Pastor Heath Curtis told The Federalist of working with nearby pastors to publicly support protecting children’s sexual innocence.
After the results came through last week, Glen Carbon Library Director Christine Gerrish noted to local KSDK Channel 5 news that the drag storytimes “were some of the best-attended programs of the summer,” with 60 attending the adults-only event and 50 attending the children’s drag event.
A summer record request from The Federalist revealed local librarians coordinating with the faculty adviser of the Collinsville, Illinois public high school’s homosexual and transsexual support club to promote the events. The emails also showed Glen Carbon and Collinsville librarians reaching out to other librarians in the region to recruit drag performers and promote the event.
The records also revealed multiple local residents objecting to the drag shows, noting to librarians that one of the drag performers the libraries hired had posted nudity, homosexual pornography, illicit drug use, racial slurs, and blasphemy on his public social media accounts. Glen Carbon paid that performer $300 for two events.
Gerrish told The Federalist in a June interview that “our main goal is to have something for everybody” in library programming, and “this is a program that has had a lot of interest in our area.” Recently, investigative journalist Chris Rufo established that while drag story hour proponents typically describe their goals in positive terms such as “diversity” and “inclusivity,” the originators of queer theory affirm their true aim is destroying the natural family. The purpose of drag according to its originators, Rufo writes, “is to subvert the system of heteronormativity, which includes childhood innocence, and reengineer childhood sexuality from the ground up.”
According to the Madison County clerk’s office, 3,918 Glen Carbon residents voted against publicly funded drag events and 1,741 voted in favor. Gerrish told Channel 5 after the election that no 2023 drag events are currently planned at the Glen Carbon library.
Madison County Chairman Kurt Prenzler, a Republican, helped put the drag question on Glen Carbon ballots. He says placing the nonbinding referendum on the ballot raised awareness among voters that their taxes had sponsored drag events. Several gay-identifying residents helped collect signatures to place the question on ballots, he told The Federalist, because they agree with the pastors that sex shows aren’t for kids.
The referendum also sets the stage for local voters to pay attention to April’s library trustee races, Prenzler said. Two of Glen Carbon’s seven library trustees are up for re-election in spring 2023. So are four of the seven Collinsville library trustees. Prenzler says he expects a slate of challengers to come forward due to the incumbents’ refusal to protect local kids from the library sex shows.