LAKE LUZERNE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A planned drag queen story hour is set to come to Rockwell Falls Public Library this Saturday, featuring an Albany-based drag performer. While the library has promoted the event as part of its mission for cultural growth, some Lake Luzerne residents have disagreed – and made their feelings known.
On Tuesday night, residents came to a meeting of the library board to voice concerns about having a drag performer host an event for their children. The meeting was held to accept the resignation of library board President Stephanie Lansburg – unrelated to the drag topic. Once official business concluded, the conversation took a turn toward the group of citizens waiting in the wings.
As first reported by the Albany Times-Union newspaper, around 40 people showed up at the meeting to speak out against what they considered a threat to their children. Attendees were quoted as saying that the presence of a drag queen “sexualized their children,” and encouraged “deviant behavior.” Several residents in favor of the event also attended.
In a post on Facebook, Rockwell Falls Public Library said that the event had been set up in an effort to encourage cultural growth. Library director Courtney Keir did not follow up with a NEWS10 request for comment on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the performer in question says her only desire is to inspire kids to be themselves. Scarlet Sagamore performs comedy-centric shows for adults regularly in Troy, Albany and Schenectady – but the controversial library story hour would be her first.
“I’ve always loved performing, being onstage, making people laugh,” said Sagamore, who prefers to be credited by her drag name. “I went to the University of Albany for my undergrad, minoring in theater with a focus on makeup and costuming. I love what I’m able to do with makeup, and what I can do with my face – turning myself into a character.”
Sagamore has been a drag performer for about two years – and says that the storytime hour wouldn’t be a performance in any of the ways that some residents may think. She will read from three children’s books. They include “Red: A Crayon Story,” about a crayon made with the wrong label; “Just Add Glitter,” a story about decorating with glitter; and “All Are Welcome,” a story about welcoming people of different backgrounds at school. She will also lead a sing-along, and guide kids through a craft.
Sagamore hasn’t been contacted personally by any parents, but has read the comments on social media posts about the storytime hour. She has seen people call her a pervert and a groomer – and even compare her to the character Frankenfurter from “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Sagamore says that even her 18+ audiences don’t see her in anything remotely close to that image – and that provocation couldn’t be further from her goal.
“I think drag story hour is important because you’re able to show youth and parents that even if you’re different – not even in terms of gender or sexuality – you can still grow up and be happy, be successful. A lot of the time, kids who feel out of place can’t see a future for themselves. That’s how I felt when I was a kid. If my environment had influenced my own gender and sexuality growing up, I would have come out as the opposite of who I am.”
Sagamore is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree, with a focus on human resources and information systems – and a capstone presentation scheduled shortly after speaking with NEWS10.
As of Wednesday, Rockwell Falls Public Library had Saturday’s drag queen story hour listed online, from 10:15 – 11 a.m. At Tuesday night’s meeting, Keir told attendees that their comments would be reviewed, and any new decision made prior to Saturday.