Lithgow Library celebrated International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) by inviting a special guest along to read a book at their weekly story time group.
“I think Oscar was a bit in awe of Martina when he first saw her, that beautiful sparkly dress,” parent Debbie Bailey said.
Drag queen Martina Concepta definitely made an impression, but she was not the only one wearing sparkles, with children, library staff and parents dressed up for the occasion.
Martina read ‘Be Who You Are’ by Todd Parr and performed the similarly titled song ‘I am what I am’ by Gloria Gaynor to an enraptured audience.
Martina said the message of her performance was an important for any of the hurdles children might face.
“I hope they feel they have met somebody who is proud to be who they are and doesn’t worry about how other people judge them,” she said.
“They can take that forward, whoever they come to be.”
Born in Ireland and currently living in Katoomba, Martina said she would have ‘loved’ to have experienced something similar as a child.
“I was a sensitive, shy kid and I was picked on for that. I was too young to know about sexuality but I did feel different in myself,” she said.
“Something like this I know I would have remembered. It would have been a memory that stuck out that I held onto for the rest of my life.”
The story time session was inspired by ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ events that began at San Francisco Public Library and have since spread across the world.
“It's very different from when we were kids,” Lithgow children’s librarian Kellie Drengenberg said.
“I think it’s a great message. I hope they [the children] get that whoever they are, it’s ok, everybody is different.
“And if it’s normal for them as kids, it will be normal for them when they are adults.”
Lithgow Library is hosting an afternoon tea event to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on Thursday, May 17 at 3pm, with guest speakers and representatives of rainbow community groups.
Storytime is held at Lithgow Library every Wednesday at 10.30am.