Once again, people gathered in protest of children being exposed to drag performers at Calgary's Country Hills Public Library. This time, however, the Mayor Jyoti Gondek's new bylaw was in effect, restricting the protesters to standing at least 100 metres away from the event.
Failure to comply with that requirement can result in an individual facing up to one year in jail or a $10,000 fine. The Safe & Inclusive Access Bylaw was passed by Mayor Gondek and city council as a way to crack down on conservative protests and “protect” the LGBT community.
In response, protesters have voiced that they are not opposed to the community, rather children's exposure to sexuality through a form of entertainment typically reserved for adults, and are disappointed with the mayor's decision to mix these two separate issues together.
Protesters were positioned at different distances in the area, a decision based on their own convictions and willingness to test whether police would enforce the new bylaw.
Rebel News asked Calgary police officers monitoring the event what their purpose for being there was, and they informed us they were strictly there to keep the public safe.
While a few protesters were estimated to be within the 100 metre bylaw exclusion zone, we did not witness tickets being issued. That said, there is a possibility fines could be issued in the mail.
Individuals charged under Calgary's new protest-limiting bylaw can learn more about how they could fight those charges at FightCensorshipFines.com.
Pastor Derek Reimer was positioned about 450 metres away from the event, enough to be in compliance with bail conditions requiring he remain at least 300 metres away from addresses or locations hosting LGBT events.
Reimer is now well-known for his opposition to these after a video of him being thrown out of a drag event at a public library went viral online. To see more of coverage of this story, visit SavePastorDerek.com.
We tried to speak to some of the people supporting drag queen story time. Unfortunately, we found it difficult to do so, as their main goal seemed to be disrupting our reporting by playing music, singing, blocking our camera shots or just generally condemning us.
There were no protesters opposed to the drag event near this group, but Calgary police and our security, which you can support at JournalistDefenceFund.com, had to create a barrier between the protesters and us because of their hostility.
Initially, these counter-protesters stood outside with large pink flags. We asked a police officer what these represented, and the officer told us he was informed that it was to cover and block the drag queens and the people coming into and out of the event.
In other words, to block them from opposing protesters and cameras.
We were able to get one interview from a kind woman on the counter-protesters side who voiced that personal beliefs should not be pushed on the children, but “people are gonna do what people are gonna do with their kids.”
We at Rebel News believe in free speech and the right to protest. If you get a fine protesting a drag queen story hour for children, The Democracy Fund, a registered Canadian charity, will help fight those fines at FightCensorshipFines.com.
And, as you have seen, these events can get confrontational, even physical. For the safety of our journalists, Rebel News hired security guards to keep us safe while we were out in the field. If you think it's important that we bring you these stories, help us cover the costs so we can keep telling the other side of the story. Support us at JournalistDefenceFund.com.