Wendy Newman speaks to her petition against adult entertainment for children being allowed in Timaru District libraries.
A petition against ‘‘adult entertainment’’ being allowed in Timaru District libraries did not find favour with councillors.
The petition, started by former high school teacher Wendy Newman in August, was in response to a planned Rainbow Storytime event to be delivered by a drag queen duo as part of a nationwide tour.
The session, aimed at toddlers to intermediate age children, was to be held at the Timaru library and designed to include reading, dancing and games to teach children about inclusivity and acceptance.
“The sexual nature of drag queen entertainment is inappropriate for children and belongs in adult bars and places of 18-plus entertainment,” Newman said as she presented her 337-signature petition to council on Tuesday.
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Another petition was started in response by Christchurch woman Geni McCallum in support of the storytime gaining 675 signatures online.
The publicity caused high demand for the event leading to a second session being scheduled before Covid-19 restrictions forced the postponement of both events.
Newman also said she believes all people are equal and was not a bigot or hater of gay people.
“This petition is not about the gay agenda but the inappropriate exposure of queer gender ideology to noticeably young children.”
Newman said she had been abused and attacked for starting the petition but wanted children to be protected and safe from gender fluid ideologies in libraries.
She called for the council and library to exercise their duty of care and cancel use of the library for Rainbow Storytimes.
Mayor Nigel Bowen said he was sorry she had been abused and expected parents to take control of the duty of care of their children. He did not think the drag duo would try and groom young children and does not believe homosexuality is learned behaviour.
Cr Paddy O’Reilly questioned whether Newman would send her child to a pantomime as the dame was a man dressed as a woman in the same way a drag queen was. She responded that the actor in a pantomime did not have an agenda.
Cr Barbara Gilchrist was “100 per cent “ in favour of the storytime.
“(It gives) young children up to older children the opportunity to feel they can genuinely be themselves and however they turn out it’s ok.”
Cr Stu Piddington was also in favour and supportive of the LGBTQIA community and thought it was a parent’s choice whether their child attended or not.
The council took the petition as read.