After weeks of anticipation and heated debate, two drag queens read story books in front of approximately 300 children and their families at the Chula Public Library Civic Center Branch.
Drag queens Raquelita and Barbie Q read on a small stage during two sessions that lasted about a half an hour each. When they finished they were greeted with a thunderous applause.
While the reading event was tranquil inside, hundreds of protesters shouted at each other outside of the library.
Chula Vista police set up barricades that separated the two sides and about a dozen officers stood between the them while they expressed their views from designated free speech zones.
Here they are, Racquelita and Barbie Q, leaving a Chula Vista library after reading to children and their families. #nbc7 pic.twitter.com/EX3B2R2SMi— Artie Ojeda (@ArtieNBCSD) September 11, 2019
Protesters argued it’s inappropriate for drag queens to read to children.
“I believe that children should be able to group up and be children and not be influenced by these kinds of events with drag queens,” said parent Delores Williams.
Protestors & supporters of Drag Queen Story Time clashed outside the Chula Vista Library as drag queens Barbie Q & Raquelita read to children. #NBC7 pic.twitter.com/73pE58Dp6Y— Omari Fleming (@OmariNBCSD) September 11, 2019
Twelve-year-old Angel Verdugo agreed.
"The kids are still little and I dont think it's appropriate for the kids to be hearing what they had to say," Verdugo said.
Drag Queen Story Time. And here’s what the protesters have to say. #nbc7 pic.twitter.com/Sbg0Z3Ew1D— Artie Ojeda (@ArtieNBCSD) September 10, 2019
Those in favor of the event said it was an opportunity to help spread diversity and inclusion.
One woman leaving the event with her grandson was forced to walk past protesters.
“When we get home we're going to have a conversation. As you see, there’s so much hate out here, unfortunately, so I have to teach my 5-year-old grandson that we don’t hate and we love. We're an all-inclusive family, and that love is so important,” said Drea Palmer.
Student Maddy Littlefield was all for the event and even flagged down a drag queen for a photo opportunity.
"I wanted to show that everyone should have equal rights and they should be who they want to be," Littlefield said.
Raquelita said she was glad everyone inside the library was focused on the task at hand -- educating children.
"For us, it's just about being able to educate the students about a literacy program and sharing our culture and embracing who we are, and inispiring them to just be who they are," she said.
Raquelita said despite the protests outside, the event turned out to be everything she expected.
Tuesday was Raquelita and Barbie Q's first time reading at Drag Queen Story Time, and both said they hope it's not their last.