PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WROC) — There was a big show of support in Pittsford Saturday for the ‘Drag Story Hour’ held at a local bookstore. Residents and members of the LGBTQ-plus community filled the streets to show solidarity for the story time event.

Pittsford CommUNITY was the group responsible for organizing the event. They’d originally booked the Pittsford community center, but switched locations after the Town of Pittsford said they’d have to pay upwards of $8,000 in security fees.

These fees, according to the town, were determined to avoid using taxpayer dollars in any potential lawsuits in addition to day-of security for a controversial event.

Christopher Doeblin is the owner of ‘Book Culture’ on Main Street — the venue for Saturday’s event. He said story hours are natural for children and books allow kids to see themselves as heroes, whatever those heroes look like.  

“Characters of color, characters of any kind of gender, any kind of self-presentation,” he said.

Ruby Sullivan says the meaning behind this drag time story hour was simple. “[To] give kids the ability to see people who may be like them […] that they have never had the opportunity to see before,” said Sullivan.

Pamela Dayton is one of the founders of Free Hugs Roc, “We support LGBT events by giving hugs to people who might not have gotten hugs from their own families,” she said.

Dayton says the trolling online surrounding the event is part of what made so many decide to come out. She said events like these encourage childhood learning in an entertaining way.

“Like there is nobody who is more fun than drag queens,” she said.

Performer ‘Maxximillian’ read to the children. “We read about crayons and farm animals, and we got to do goofy voices and I think the kids had a really good time,” they said.

Performers ‘Psy Kodick’ and ‘Valentino Rose’ said the gathering came down to this: 

“It’s okay to be yourself, and love yourself,” said Rose.

“You can be exactly who you are and still be loved is exactly what we’re here for,” said Kodick.

For those protesting the event — a smaller contingent on Saturday that News 8 was unable to speak with — Doeblin shared his thoughts.

“Just knock it off. Let kids be who they want to be. Let families be who they want to be,” he said.

After pushback, the Town of Pittsford eventually reversed its decision to charge the security fees. In response, Pittsford CommUNITY will be holding a second Drag Story Time on April 23 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the community center.

To see a full statement from the Town of Pittsford, click here.