Storytelling drag queen Barbada to read to children at Saint-Laurent libraries
Montreal drag queen Barbada de Barbades's journey to teach kids that reading is fundamental will continue at two libraries in Saint-Laurent.
"I have been leading the storytime activity since 2016, and it has proven its worth," she said. "The main objective is to give children a taste for reading while discovering the wealth of differences."
The readings were confirmed after a meeting between the borough's administration and Sébastien Potvin, de Barbades' alter-ego, following one councillor's fears about the activity.
"I'm also happy to have had the opportunity to talk to Saint-Laurent council freely and with mutual respect," Potvin noted. "It's important to answer questions in order to avoid any and all misunderstandings."
The drag artist's events had been abruptly interrupted last month when members of council said they needed to know more details about the themes she planned to discuss.
"We're pleased to have had the opportunity to get together with Barbada for a discussion that was enriching for everyone," said Saint-Laurent Mayor Alan DeSousa. "We're always looking for ways to improve the services we offer families and children in particular. We are therefore delighted to be able to welcome Barbada to Saint-Laurent under the best possible conditions."
This isn't the first time de Barbades has faced controversy regarding her storytelling activity with children.
In June, the Dorval Library faced backlash when numerous people called for her reading to be cancelled because "they do not need to learn about drag queens at five years old."
The library and the City of Dorval were quick to defend the activity, saying, "We think that teaching about inclusion and acceptance is perfect for five-year-olds (and people of all ages, actually)."
The reading took place with police onsite to monitor the event.
Storytime activity for children, hosted by Barbada, is slated to take place Nov. 5 at the Bibliothèque du Vieux-Saint-Laurent at 10:30 a.m. and the Bibliothèque du Boisé at 2 p.m. as part of the borough of Saint-Laurent's fall program.