Show of support for drag queen story hour


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A counter-protest outvoiced a small demonstration against a drag queen performance at a Winnipeg coffee shop Saturday.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/10/2022 (211 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A counter-protest outvoiced a small demonstration against a drag queen performance at a Winnipeg coffee shop Saturday.

Scout Coffee + Tea hosted the event, in which three drag performers read picture books to kids and their parents, at its Rothesay Street location.

After announcing the event online last week, the business faced pushback and promises of protest on social media, as well as a swell of support.


Drag queens, Rose Mortel, left, Glimmer and Mei Yosong pose for photos for the media following a drag queen story time event at Scout Coffee + Tea on Saturday.

About 30 protesters stood across the street from the event, holding signs that read “no drag queens 4 kids” and other messages, while more than 100 counter-protesters escorted attendees and the performers inside, holding signs like “homophobes go home” and carrying LGBTTQ+ Pride flags.

Alex Krosney, 31, helped to organize the counter-protest, which was dubbed a welcome committee.

“First and foremost it’s about creating a joyful, welcoming, safe space for folks who are attending the drag queen story hour… the kids and families (and performers) coming in,” she said.

“Once some of the opposition started to float around, we really wanted the folks who bought tickets to the event to feel like they could still come and feel safe, and the best way we know how to do that is with a loving, supportive community.”

The counter-protesters remained outside the venue for the hour-long performance, escorting kids and parents and the drag queens out on a red carpet, while the demonstrators remained on the other side of the street.


A group of supporters who call themselves "the welcoming committee" were present for the event in response to a group who opposed it.

Drag queen Jennifer Corbett, who performs under the name Rose Mortel, said she was glad to have gone ahead with the event.

“It went really well, the event went really smoothly, especially considering the backlash we thought we would get,” she said.

“There’s appropriate levels for children to know about all sorts of people from all walks of life — this was just a fun event for kids to have some stories read to them by people in some colourful outfits and have a little dance and singalong.”

Krosney said she was pleased with the turnout of counter-protesters.

“Looking at the numbers, there are far, far, far more people out in support of this event than there are who decided to oppose it,” Krosney said.


Supporters hold signs and cheer for the kids attending the event.

“It’s nice to see people excited and happy to be here — some of the voices who oppose this kind of event are really loud, but they’re not the majority.”

Across the street, demonstrator Jenna Smaha, 43, who held a sign that read “Only two genders, stay away from children,” said she came to protest because she’s a mother.

“I don’t like the indoctrinating of our children, I’m not a homophobe in any way, but I believe children need to be children and exposing them to an adult world when they have very innocent minds is very wrong,” she said.

“If they want to read stories to each other, that’s fine, but teaching kids this is acceptable and right — I don’t agree with any of it.”


Ceara Desmond takes a selfie with Mortel (from left), Glimmer and Yosong after the event concluded.

Erik Pindera

Erik Pindera

Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.

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