Padilla is currently Chula Vista's Councilmember for District 3.
Drag queens across the country are trying to get kids interested in reading with the "Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH)," a presentation in which the performers dressed in costumes and make up sit down with kids in libraries or other public venues to read for an hour.
Recently, a DQSH was scheduled at the Otay Ranch Library in Chula Vista to be held on September 10 and it was met with mixed criticism. Some residents laud the program and plan on supporting it, while others - especially conservative "family organizations" such as Mass Resistance -- plan to demonstrate.
Councilmember Steve Padilla is the former mayor of Chula Vista (2002–2006) and is also out publicly. He is currently the Councilmember of District 3 and once he heard about the backlash regarding the Story Hour he quickly weighed in with the following statement.
The City of Chula Vista’s greatest strength is our diversity and sense of community. Throughout our history residents of many backgrounds, ideas, and perspectives have lived, worked, and played side by side and supported one another. Today, however, we are challenged to reaffirm these values.
I am disappointed that some voices both from inside and outside our community have chosen to use the upcoming Drag Queen Storytime as an opportunity to perpetuate long discredited false and discriminatory narratives targeting the LGBTQ+ community in the name of protecting children.
This is wrong and must be called out for what it is – the spreading of ignorance, fear, and hate. Much of this fearmongering is being organized by the local chapter of a nationally known hate-group which promotes not just anti-LGBTQ beliefs, but also anti-immigrant and white supremacist beliefs. These ideas and tactics do not reflect the community I love and serve.
Despite this, our community’s public spaces are open to all no matter their color, creed, or political beliefs. Our libraries are critical to our community’s well-being and serve as places that provide access to a wealth and diversity of information, ideas, and thought. This Storytime event is among many designed to foster a love of reading, and most importantly of all -to model the importance of diversity in learning, love, and civility.
Stephen C. Padilla
Chula Vista Councilmember, District 3
Former Chula Vista Mayor
Drag Queen Story Hour will take place on September 10 at the Otay Ranch Library - The HUB located at 2015 Birch Road, Suite 409 Chula Vista, 91915 from 4 pm to 5 pm.