Huntington Woods Commissioner Resigns Early In Midst of Drag Queen Story Time Pushback
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oakland County Times, Dec. 18, 2018)
Huntington Woods, MI – Huntington Woods City Commissioner Allison Iversen resigned Tuesday after emails she sent regarding the Huntington Woods Library’s Drag Queen Story Time program were made public. Iversen was planning to resign at the end of the year due moving to Lake Orion, but decided to resign early.
Drag Queen Storytime began in Dec. 2017. The regular program features drag performers – Kings and Queens – reading story books to children.
Youth Services Director Joyce Krom began the program after seeing similar programs in New York and California. This is believed to be the first program of its kind in Michigan.
“My hope is that the next generation of kids won’t see Drag Queen Story Time as anything unusual, and they’ll just see people for who they are,” Krom said in a 2017 interview. “Drag Queens are the perfect people to introduce diversity, acceptance and pride to our children. It would be inappropriate to introduce children to “token gays” every bit as much as it would be to bring in “token blacks” or “token disabled people.” However, Drag Queens are performers by choice. This is a wonderful opportunity for them to use their talent to help educate a new generation of children in acceptance. As librarians, our job is to give children mirrors and windows. In addition to exposing our children to greater diversity, we can use this opportunity to affirm the experiences of our LGBTQ children. They are our patrons, too.”
The first event attracted over 100 people. The event has been largely embraced by the Huntington Woods community, however a California-based group called MassResistance has sent out emails encouraging people to protest the next Drag Queen Story Time, scheduled for Jan. 26.
In response to this news, supporters of Drag Queen Story Time have called for people to attend the Dec. 18 City Commission Meeting.
Among the released emails was a message responding to concerns over the events with someone she thought was a resident, Iversen wrote “Thank you for your comments. I have been trying to get this stopped since it started. Please do get more people involved. I am one voice and we need many people to call this out for what it is. Unfortunately I will be leaving my commission position this month. I will be addressing at the next commission mtg. in my final comments.”
Another email made public was to Krom. “I know there is a desperate need for people to understand and accept people that are different. I believe using ‘Drag Queens’ as a means to aid in this process is a mistake. Children are innocent beings, and we, as a society, should be banding together to preserve that innocence for as long as possible.”
She went on to request that Drag Queen Story Time be “reconsidered or changed to an adult event,” and that signs for the event be removed. “I’d rather not be forced to explain what an ‘unabashedly queer Drag Queen’ is to my younger two children. Iversen posted on the community discussion website Tuesday afternoon. “Good afternoon. Over the course of this year, many residents have contacted me with concerns about our library’s program… specifically the age of the children.
“Sharing their concern I have encouraged every one of them to speak up, connect with other residents, and address those concerns with the library and/or the commission. I suspect they were afraid they would be subjected to name-calling and character assassination, and after what I have seen in the last 24 hours – who would honestly want to do that?
“As for my apology to our residents for responding to someone I believed was a resident, and that person forwarding my message to an outside group – I am very sorry! I would never intentionally invite and outside group to protest in our neighborhood. I am not a member or an affiliate of this group.”
Iversen, who is moving to Lake Orion, also posted “Those of you who know me and know my heart, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the outpouring of love and support yesterday and today. As for my resignation, I had planned to resign effective Dec. 28, but have decided not to wait.”
The Huntington Woods City Commission meeting has been relocated to the Community Center to accommodate the expected crowds. The meeting takes place today, Dec. 18, 2018, at 7:30pm. There is also a special meeting at 6:15pm to interview residents for board and committee vacancies followed by a presentation of the annual audit.
Huntington Woods Hosts Michigan’s First Drag Queen Story Time, Dec. 15, 2017