On March 19, the organizers of Houston Public Library’s (HPL) controversial Drag Queen Story Time (DQST) announced that they were leaving their positions and cancelling future scheduled events. In a statement published on Houstoniamag.com, the organizers say they came to their decision to resign after the news broke that one of their story time performers was a convicted child sex offender.
Albert Alonso Garza, a.k.a. Nikki Salazar, a.k.a. Tatiana Mala-Ninã, was convicted in 2009 of aggravated assault of a child. Garza’s victim was an eight-year-old boy. Garza performs under the stage name Tatiana Mala-Ninã (Tatiana “Bad Girl”), and publically uses the name Nikki Salazar because of being in gender transition since 2017.
MassResistance-Houston led the investigation into DQST, and has been the prominent organization protesting the HPL’s endorsed program. RERcontributor Tracy Shannon of MassResistance-Houston, and RagingElephantsRadio.com first broke the story on Thursday, March 14.
In their published statement the organizers, Trent Lira and Devin Will, blame the scandal on the Houston Public Library not completing background checks, as required, on all library volunteers. In their statement on the scandal, HPL apologized for the “oversight”. Yet, Garza was a featured performer at the first Drag Queen Story Time, and performed at two more, subsequently. Lira and Will say that Garza has not performed at DQST since HPL started conducting background checks.
The primary location of the DQST, a monthly event since September of 2017, was Freed-Montrose Branch of HPL. To avoid protestors, HPL and the organizers briefly moved the story times to Kindred Church in Montrose – a congregation that promotes the neo-morality agenda. HPL continued to participate by showing up with library staff and resources.
Lira and Will say they have decided to step down and cancel future story time events to protect the lives of their friends and the performers. Lira and Will claim that they have received threats of violence since the breaking of the news and the following national attention.
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