Metro Weekly

Houston Public Library sued by anti-gay activists over “Drag Queen Storytime”

Chief plaintiff has sued other libraries over similar events, claiming it promotes the "religion" of secular humanism

Houston Public Library, Collier Regional Branch – Photo: Facebook.

A group of conservative Christians are suing the Houston Public Library and Mayor Sylvester Turner for allowing the library to sponsor an ongoing “Drag Queen Storytime” program.

Opponents of the program, which began last summer at the Freed-Montrose branch in Houston’s gay neighborhood, claim it violates their religious freedom and discriminates against Christians by promoting and endorsing a set of religious beliefs known as secular humanism, reports The Houston Chronicle.

The plaintiffs claim secular humanism is a philosophy that says humans are capable of morality without God.

The plaintiffs claim that the library director and Turner, in his role as mayor, are promoting “LGBT doctrine.” They object to the library’s advertisement of the program as appropriate for all ages, arguing that it “should not be funded with taxpayer dollars since the library would not host a ‘man-woman marriage storytelling hour.'”

To announce the lawsuit, a group of anti-gay protesters rallied outside the federal courthouse last week, bringing together a number of self-described “Christ followers,” library patrons, and taxpayers who object to government-funded buildings being used to host Drag Queen Storytime.

One of the plaintiffs includes Tex Christopher, who says he homeschools his children using library books. Other plaintiffs include an evangelical minister and a woman who claims she got into a custody battle with her ex-husband after he left her for a transgender woman.

Perhaps the most infamous plaintiff is Chris Sevier, who is best known for filing a number of lawsuits across the country asking for the right to marry his laptop, in protest of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize marriage equality.

Sevier, who has previously identified himself as a member of the groups Special Forces of Liberty and Warriors for Christ, has filed an almost identical lawsuit against the public library in Lafayette, La., challenging their “Drag Queen Story Time” event. 

“We don’t want the [Houston] library partnering with these non-secular entities promoting their agenda. And we don’t want the library to host that event for children in a public building,” Sevier told KHOU.

Sevier also worries that exposing children to drag queens may encourage them to “choose” to embrace homosexuality and transgenderism.

“It’s not about acceptance, love and tolerance. It’s really about indoctrinating children to the ideals of secular humanism,” he said, adding, “Just like if you attended a Billy Graham rally you could be led down the path of coming to know Christ, for example.”

The mayor’s office maintains that the program is privately funded by the Houston Library Foundation and does not involve using taxpayer dollars. 

“It is a frivolous lawsuit,” Turner said. “There is no merit to the lawsuit.”

Alexandra Drake, the assistant manager of Houston’s Heights Neighborhood Library, says Drag Queen Storytime is meant to promote “diversity, understanding, inclusion and fun.”

The next Drag Queen Storytime event is set to take place at 2 pm. on Oct. 27 at the Freed-Montrose Library.

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!

Leave a Comment: