After receiving some criticism during a Hoboken appearance in April, LGBTQ advocate Harmonica Sunbeam returned to the Mile Square City on Saturday for a “drag queen story hour” and brunch hosted by the LGBTQ caucus of the county Democratic party.
“John, as the first [gay] elected official in Hudson County, this is a historic event because I’m proud to be the first chair of the HCDO LGBTQ caucus, and more so, to use that position to bring people together, bring families and the community, not just in Hoboken, but countywide, together under a banner of love, inclusion and to believe in one another,” stated Hoboken 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco.
He further stated that this event was about policy, not politics, going as far as to call it “social justice in action.”
Protestors from the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property tried to put a damper on Sunbeam’s appearance at Little City Books at the end of April, which led to Saturday’s event being put together in relatively short order.
Hudson County Democratic Organization Chair Amy DeGise, who DeFusco said was “the best thing that happened to our county party in a long time,” helped collaborate on getting the event together and expressed great satisfaction with the end result.
“One of our top initiatives was to make sure that every element of our community has representation and that we build these identity based caucuses to address the needs, the agendas and the resources that are needed,” she explained.
“This is a well-oiled machine. I listen and I watch, I observe, they have goals, they have initiatives on their own and its just gonna move so fast for Hudson County – it’s gonna make us so much more proud for our community – we’re so inclusive and we represent everyone.”
Additionally, Sunbeam, the founder of the North Jersey Chapter of the Drag Queen Story Hour, told HCV that the mild controversy around her last event in Hoboken ended up being up a good thing as it paved the way for new opportunities.
“Thanks to my wonderful ‘supporters’ that came out against drag queen story hour, this event was made possible and I’m happy to say that there are many more opportunities that have come forth in Hoboken just because of that situation,” she began.
Also noting that drag queen story hour started in San Francisco and is now international, she said the purpose of these events is to encourage children to read, be themselves and accept others.
The event was regarded as a major success, with over a hundred children cramming inside the Antique Bar and Bakery to take pictures with Sunbeam and later listen to her read stories.
Other dignitaries who participated in the event included 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos and Councilwoman-at-Large Vanessa Falco.