At a public library in Brooklyn on Thursday, a cluster of small children sat on the floor transfixed by a lavender-haired drag queen named Angel Elektra as she read storybooks aloud to them.
Outside, it was a much different scene.
On one side of blue NYPD barricades stood protesters who had papered the neighborhood, Gerritsen Beach, with fliers condemning the event. They held aloft signs with slogans like “Grinding America Down” and accused the organizers of child abuse.
A few yards away, behind another set of barricades, were counter-demonstrators who showed up to support Drag Queen Story Hour, a phenomenon that has been growing in popularity across the country in the last several years.
“We are ashamed of YOU!” one man yelled at the drag-queen opponents.
It got intense. It got noisy.
And inside, it did too.
“Give a roar!" Angel Elektra, perched on a chair in a rainbow-hued sequin sheath, urged the kids as she turned the page of a book.
“Roar!" they said.
It wasn’t enough.
“C'mon, just one more,” she exhorted them.
“Roar!” they shouted, much louder.