Groups Protest at Drag Story Hours in California, Part I

Groups Protest at Drag Story Hours in California, Part I
(L-R) Jennifer Gunderson, her daughters Shayla Rodrigues and Alicia Grupico, Orlean Koehle, Gunderson’s sister Amy Dodson, and Gunderson’s daughter Annalisa Puleo. (Courtesy of David Williamson)
Orlean Koehle

On Fathers’ Day weekend, as part of June Pride Month, four public libraries in Sonoma County, California, chose to hold “Drag Story Hours” with a “Drag King named Vera” as the presenter. The events on Saturday were in Petaluma (where the largest number of parents and children attended—132 in total at room capacity) and Rincon Valley in Santa Rosa. The events on Sunday were in the town of Windsor and downtown Santa Rosa.

Various conservative and Christian groups protested the four drag story hours, and I was also among the protesters. The protesting groups were Sonoma County Eagle Forum, Save Our Sonoma, Sonoma County Parents Stand Up for Our Kids, a Christian prayer group, and the Warner family, who made 50 signs and generously donated them to the cause.

The signs stated such things as “Stop Sexualizing Our Kids,” “Stop Grooming Our Children,” and “Make Childhood Innocent Again.” A banner read “Libraries Are to Be Safe and Happy Places for Children.”

About 60 to 70 protesters turned up at each library. They included parents, grandparents, children, and one lone, brave pastor, Pastor Andy Springer from the Heartwood Church in Rohnert Park.

One charming mother and grandmother in her 60s, Jennifer Gunderson, who is the mother of nine children, showed up at all four libraries with an impressive number of her family members—about 20 in total: four daughters with their husbands, her sister, her brother-in-law, two nieces, two nephews, and five grandchildren.

Gunderson homeschooled her children for 25 years. All of her family and some of her extended family are homeschooling their children as well.

Gunderson said: “My choice to homeschool my nine children was simply to ensure they had a more innocent childhood, one that encouraged and supported our family values and faith. Every day that decision made over 25 years ago has proven to be the right one, as we never could have anticipated the battle to come. Thankfully, my adult children are passionate about protecting the innocence of childhood and speak out against the transitioning and indoctrination of all children.”

She said that the reason so many of her family members came out to protest the drag story hours was “because we believe that our little ones should not be the target of adult agendas seeking to redefine sexuality and what it means to be a family.”

“One of my greatest joys is getting to spend time with my 21 homeschooled grandchildren who are living an innocent childhood, not burdened with pronouns,” she said.


The protests did not turn out to be the peaceful ones that were hoped for. A much larger and very loud group of LGBT members and supporters had gotten wind of our plans and turned out in large numbers (about 100) to counter-protest.

They had a loud megaphone and chanted: “Hey ho, hey ho, bigotry has got to go.” Or they would replace the word bigotry with “hatred” and even “fascists.”

But none of those bad words described the reasons the conservative Christians were there protesting. We all share the same motivation—concern for the innocence of children and the attack on basic family values.

The LGBT counter-protesters did not seem to appreciate the various signs our group of protesters were holding or our banners and would try to stand in front of us and hold up big umbrellas in front of our signs so they could not be seen by people driving by.

In other words, freedom of speech for them seems to be only if you agree with their viewpoint.

To be continued in Part II
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Orlean Koehle is a former teacher, now author, who has written 14 books, all nonfiction. Koehle has served as the state president of Eagle Forum of California for 20 years. Her books can be found at
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