Read Union Leader story here.
Warning: this post contains a graphic image that viewers might find offensive.
A concerned Nashua resident (and taxpayer) shared with Cornerstone an email exchange she had with the library director about the event.
“I just discovered that Monique Toosoon will be holding a story time for teens at the Nashua library on January 12 and I am writing to object. I wanted to let you know about Monique’s pornographic performances which were watched by me and many other Nashua residents on YouTube before they were taken down because of the controversy around Monique’s scheduled performance at a “family friendly” show at the Pride festival this summer…. I saw pictures of the ‘family friendly’ drag show and, as we suspected, it was not something kids or teens should have been watching. This event should not be held at the library, especially for impressionable teens.”
“The Drag Queen Teen Time that we have planned for January is not a drag show, it’s an opportunity for Teens to meet a drag performer in person and ask questions about their art, costuming, makeup, etc. A program like this is an excellent way for anyone to get accurate, first-hand information about a current topic that gets a lot of coverage in the media. Like any of our programs it is strictly voluntary and we expect that families will make decisions for their own children about whether they may attend. Thank you for your feedback, I know that this program will not be welcomed by everyone but I stand by it as an appropriate and timely program for our Teens.”
More from the concerned Nashua resident, again addressing the library director:
“I have been wondering if the library would also have a stripper into the library to talk to teens about costuming, makeup, etc.? Both strippers and drag show performers dress provocatively and have sexually explicit performances for adult audiences. I see no substantial difference between the two types of performers. If you won’t have a stripper talk to the teens, then why would you have a drag show performer talk to the teens?”
After seeing these emails, provided by the Nashua resident who initiated the correspondence, Cornerstone’s attorney, Christopher Jay, promptly filed a Right-to-Know request for records of communications between library employees and anyone involved in planning the “Drag Queen” program. What we learned confirms that “Drag Queen Teen Time” is only the tip of a spear.
From Ashlee Norwood, Teen Librarian, in an email sent from her nashualibrary.org email address to Robert Bouchard, the man whose stage name and persona is “Monique Toosoon:”
“We wanted to start small with the teens to see what the reaction would be because there are horror stories about libraries being protested, cops called in, and the whole bad shebang…. But this Facebook blow up has made my heart so happy that there are so many supporters!!!! We were already looking at a kid’s Drag Queen Storytime sometime in the Spring and this positive feedback has dang-near solidified that idea!”
“Hello Miss Monique! We are already getting some buzz for our program! Sure some jerk posted against it, but there were lots of responses in support of you and us!!!!!!! YAY!”
If it’s “buzz” the library is after, there’s no one better equipped to create it than you, the taxpayer who is providing this venue and paying the employees who are facilitating it. Email the library director and teen librarian, calmly setting out your concerns. Remember that your email and their response are both covered under the state’s Right to Know law.