MOBILE, Ala. -- There was a new twist to storytelling at downtown Mobile's Public Library Saturday. Instead of what some may consider the "norm," there was a drag queen, Ms. Chloe Cash, who says her hope is to inspire inclusion and self-expression.
That's Bryan Fuenmayor's goal, too, and the top reason he wanted to host the state's first drag queen story hour.
"I want to show that the city of Mobile is a very welcome city, tolerant, diverse and we want to show that we love this city and we love the people in it," Fuenmayor with Rainbow Mobile said.
This story hour comes after weeks of heated debate between those who didn't support the event and those who liked the idea. Many calling on city leaders to speak up and stop the story hour said they were disappointed the event was not stopped. For that, they showed up in protest.
"A man shouldn't dress up like a woman, and a woman shouldn't dress up like a man," Mary Tolbert said.
Tolbert is just one of many who say small children shouldn't be exposed to such a way of living.
"God made you who you are," she said. "You are a woman whether you like it or not and you're a man if you like or not."
"I have nothing against gays, nothing against lesbians, nothing against drag queens that's their business as long as they keep it their business," John Goodroum Jr. said. "But I don't think that 3-year-olds to 8-year-old kids should be exposed to that adult information any more than I would go in a teach a sex education class to those same group of kids. It's just not age appropriate."
For those on the other side of conversation, they say love and acceptance should be the root of the conversation.
"That's what we want, better dialogue so that people understand that this is a part of your community here in Mobile," Sara Sills said. "We just want to be treated with dignity and respect like everybody else and we want our families to be treated that way. This is a great opportunity to open that door of conversation."
Ambrosia Sterling wasn't a part of the story hour, but she was dressed the part. She says seeing the positive support shows that Mobile is one.
"I come from little, tiny town called Dothan, Alabama, and three years ago I did my first political rally in the same park where I used to hide and cry until I could dry up and go back home and fake like it was okay," Sterlong said. "For these things to be happening here, 25 years after I started doing drag is nothing short of absolutely amazing. We'll all go back to playing "bitter bar" later, but right now when the chips are down, every person out here is a member of my family, and you don't mess with my family."
Another goal of Fuenmayor is to have the public library be host to a drag queen story and arts and crafts hour at least once a month.