A Drag Queen Storytime at the Orlando Public Library is nearly booked in record time, a reflection of the city’s tolerance and acceptance of diversity, according to organizers.

The first Drag Queen Storytime will be held at 5:30 p.m. June 12th, a year after the Pulse massacre. The event coincides with activities planned for Orlando United Day and One Orlando Alliance’s Acts of Love & Kindness movement.

With little publicity and only a notice in the library’s flyer, more than 140 people have registered to attend the unique story time, modeled after similar readings held in San Francisco and the Bronx. The room can hold 280 people.

“The response has been phenomenal,” said Corey Lyons, president of Impulse Group Orlando, a nonprofit that raises awareness about healthy lifestyles for gay men. Lyons came up with the idea after reading about similar storytimes in big cities across the nation but said he was hesitant to present his idea.

“I was ready to argue my point but the library staff welcomed the idea,” said Lyons. “This wasn’t one of our main events but to see the community gravitate toward it is so inspiring. Our goal is to get children to understand acceptance and it’s OK to be different.”

He had hoped to schedule a storytime every week in June but the library’s calendar was booked months in advance. They carved out a time that would allow families to attend the storytime then walk to Lake Eola Park to participate in the Orlando United Day activities.

Erin Sullivan, public relations administrator at the Orange County Public Library, said all ages are welcome to attend the story hour, which will follow the theme of unity and support shown throughout Orlando after the Pulse tragedy.

 “We’re showing all people are different and all people are welcome in our libraries,” Sullivan said.

A local drag queen and a celebrity from the TV show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” will read the stories. The readers and stories have yet to be decided but will be released as soon as they are finalized.

Families interested in attending can register at Evenbrite.

About The Author

The youngest of seven children, Terry O. Roen followed two older brothers into journalism. Her career started as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, where she wrote stories on city and county government, schools, courts and religion. She has also reported for the Associated Press, where she covered the Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin trials along with the Pulse massacre. Married to her husband, Hal, they have two children and live in Winter Park. A lifelong tourist in her own state, she writes about Central Florida’s growing tourism industry for Florida Politics and Orlando Rising.

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