Mayor invites snubbed drag queen to read to kids at City Hall

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has invited a drag queen to hold a children's story time at City Hall after the county library system pulled its support for the event, which was to be held at an Alpharetta branch.

Bottoms made the invitation Friday afternoon over Twitter to Miss Terra Cotta Sugarbaker, the drag persona of 40-year-old Buford native Steven Igarashi-Ball: "Miss Terra Cotta Sugarbaker and all of our LGBTQ friends are always welcome at Atlanta City Hall. How about we host your next story hour? @CityofAtlanta—let's make it happen! #OneAtlanta 🌈"

The tweet included a link to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's story about Igarashi-Ball being snubbed, which came after Atlanta LGBTQ magazine Project Q first reported about the situation.

The event Bottoms proposed to host is part of the national Drag Queen Story Hour movement that began in San Francisco and entails drag queens reading books to children at libraries.

Igarashi-Ball, who performs drag mostly during charity events and doesn’t perform in clubs, has been holding story time at the Ponce de Leon Avenue library branch for 1½ years.

He said he was invited to hold the event in Alpharetta by the staff at the library branch after they saw how successful the event was at the Ponce de Leon branch.

He said the library system decided to withdraw its promotion of the reading event but will allow an unsanctioned version of the event to go on at the Alpharetta library April 27.

No library or county officials have explained the calendar change. A spokeswoman for the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, which includes the Alpharetta and Ponce de Leon branches, Jessica Corbitt-Dominguez, said the event was not canceled.

She gave the following statement: "We appreciate the community support for the Drag Queen Story Time event, which has been successful and well received at the Ponce de Leon Library. We recommended to the organizer that it continue at the location where it has a strong track record. ... Not every program is offered at every location."

None of the initial responses to the tweet was positive.

Igarashi-Ball told the AJC on Friday he was “definitely interested to discuss the possibility, and we love that the mayor is supporting our event!”

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