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Female biker group steps in to protect drag queen story time in Parkhill, Ont.


Protestors and counter protestors came face-to-face on the sidewalk outside the Middlesex County Library in Parkhill, Ont. on Saturday.

Just meters away, joy and laughter as two drag queens read stories to children inside.

Close to two dozen people against the event gathered with signs and were vocal in opposition.

“It's the sexualizing the outfits that they're wearing while they're reading to kids, I have an issue with that,” said Bubba Pollack, a protestor.

As families tried to enter the library, protestors blared a siren from a megaphone. Strathroy Pride organizers escorted them from the parking lot to the event.

"It's unfortunate that a lot of families have to walk through that and I feel for the children who had to walk through that,” said Frank Emanuele, a director with Strathroy Pride. “We want to be supportive to everybody that's brave enough to come to these events. We want to make sure they feel protected.”

Three OPP officers and Middlesex County Library Director Lindsay Brock at drag queen story time in Parkhill, Ont. on April 29, 2023. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

Inside the library, three OPP officers attended the event to "keep the peace."

Outside, a group of self-proclaimed protectors named the ‘Wind Sisters’ formed a chain in front of the entrance.

“Historically, a butch — like myself, and I’ve been one for 50 years now — our role in the community has always been one of the great protector,” said Patricia Ginn, a member of the motorcycle group the Wind Sisters, who have more than 4,500 members in Canada and the U.S.

“Today we wanted to come here and show protection and help the community celebrate all of our inclusivity,” she added.

Ginn and a few fellow members came from all over southwestern Ontario to show their support.

She got emotional when talking about her life-long struggles.

“As a young tomboy, when I came out, there was nowhere for me to go,” said Ginn. “I was born in a small town in Quebec, and it was a scary time for us, so we just hid in the closet. We didn't come out to big events like this.”

This event, put on by the Rainbow Optimists and Strathroy Pride, comes less than a week after Norwich Township Council in Oxford County banned all flags on municipal property, including the Pride flag.

In Parkhill Saturday, the municipal library was the host.

Two drag queens read stories to children inside the Middlesex County Library in Parkhill, Ont. on April 29, 2023. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

“We really are that third space for people,” said Lindsay Brock, director of library services for Middlesex County. “We are that community gathering space and we level the playing field. We support everyone in need, and especially those underrepresented groups. The stories today focus on inclusiveness and kindness.”

Even though he said he’s never been inside a story time event, Pollack and the other protestors didn’t agree with what was happening inside.

“The fact that they're very out there with kids, I think that's an issue,” said Pollack. “I have the right to peacefully protest and am doing that.”

Despite the protestors, organizers said they are not backing down, and they’ll continue to host Pride-related events.

“Often queer children and queer teens say they don't feel safe in rural communities,” said Emanuele. “So we need to hold more events like this to show there is love and acceptance even in small towns.” Top Stories

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