🔷 NJ college planned drag queen story hour

🔷 Optional event was on take kids to work day

🔷 GOP leaders complain, event canceled

MIDDLETOWN — The latest drag queen story hour canceled over polarized views was at a New Jersey community college.

Brookdale Community College had the optional event on its offered schedule for the recent “Bring Your Child to Work Day.”

News of the event was first published by Central Jersey Newswire, which also shared immediate outrage by Monmouth County Republican leaders — including state Senator Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblymembers Gerry Scharfenberger and Vicky Flynn.

Brookdale Community College (brookdale.edu)
Brookdale Community College (brookdale.edu)

Brookdale then canceled the optional event, citing respect for staff members’ "comfort levels."

“As an inclusive community, we understand and respect that parents have the right to decide when and how they want their children to explore diverse ideas. While the Drag Queen read-along was intended to promote inclusivity and acceptance, we recognize and acknowledge the diverse viewpoints within our workforce and have opted to respect the comfort levels of all involved,” according to a statement by Brookdale Community College.

A college spokesperson said despite Thursday's event being scrapped, "it's important to note that another Drag Queen event organized by the Student Theater Club proceeded as planned on Friday. This decision underscores our commitment to diversity and inclusion education and learning opportunities for our students and adult community members."

Brookdale Community College (Google Maps)
Brookdale Community College (Google Maps)

The abrupt cancelation of the Thursday drag queen story event in turn prompted criticism from Garden State Equality and progressive organizations.

“The story hour, one of many optional events throughout the day, was set to include singing songs, a coloring activity, and the opportunity for families to take pictures with a vibrant, kind, and humorous performer,” Garden State Equality said in a statement.

“Abruptly canceling the event runs counter to Brookdale’s stated goal of being a stigma-free, diverse, and inclusive campus. A college campus cannot claim to be an inclusive and accepting community while prioritizing the prejudice-fueled discomfort of some members over the safety and livelihood of others.⁠”

Read More: Backlash forces one NJ library to cancel Drag Queen Story Hour

Harmonica Sunbeam at Newark Library with Tammy Murphy (First Lady Tammy Murphy Drag Queen Story hour
Harmonica Sunbeam at Newark Library with Tammy Murphy (First Lady Tammy Murphy via Instagram)

Drag queen public events in the culture wars

Drag queen events open to all ages have been a frequent target of culture wars in recent years.

Several storytime events scheduled at public libraries have come under fire from conservative critics, who say the optional events are wholly inappropriate for other people’s children.

In 2019, Harmonica Sunbeam — the same performer whose event was canceled at Brookdale — hosted a Drag Queen Story Hour at the Bloomfield Public Library.

Public events in prior years took place in Newark, Jersey City, Maplewood, Princeton and Fanwood.

Read More: NJ drag queen event is latest to be targeted by Libs of TikTok

In 2022, a Montclair bakery’s pride event featuring drag queens was highlighted after the fact by an influential social media account that has repeatedly targeted the LGBT community.

state and local gender and sexual identity policies in schools.

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