THE furore surrounding the appearance of a drag queen at a youngsters storytelling event in Elgin (“Greens’ anger as Tory leader Ross criticises drag queen story hour for children”, The Herald, June 7 and Letters, June 8) is clearly being fed by almost any phobia you might care to name.

Douglas Ross's comments have only exacerbated the atmosphere of hate. He is not a responsible politico. He condemns Miss Lossie Mouth's act without ever having seen it. Where is his compassion? Surely diversity is important at any age.

These promoters of hate have no valid reason for their actions. Just saying stuff is not the same as evidence and their hate for all on the LGBTQ+ spectrum is clear and may be illegal. This country is beginning to remind me of post-Nuremberg days.

Pride in Moray is surely a worthy and responsible organisation. The haters should become immediately silent voluntarily if their hate-filled rants are not restricted. Miss Lossie Mouth should be lauded for her courage.

As a Christian minister I fully support Pride Month in all its manifestations and will unashamedly continue to oppose the hate speech of groups like the Christian Institute and the Evangelical Alliance. And I am proud to be a straight ally and supporter of diversity.

Rev John Nugent (retired), Wick.

This is moral intimidation

IN her column on the controversy surrounding drag events for young children, Rebecca McQuillan ("Dear Douglas, we don’t need your US-inspired anti-drag dramas here", The Herald, June 8) attacks Douglas Ross with gusto and tells him to “grow up”. His crime? He dared to question the age-appropriateness of a so-called Drag Queen Story Time for children under six, held at a Moray library by drag performer John Campbell aka Miss Lossie Mouth. Mr Ross is also a Tory MSP and in the text he is caricatured as a narrow-minded bigot without the word actually being said.

One doesn’t need to be a fan of the Tories to acknowledge that Mr Ross had been approached by concerned constituents and that he simply gave them a voice. In other words, he was doing his job as an MSP. Everyone in this country is entitled to have and express an opinion on this. Stigmatising anyone who doesn’t embrace drag queen readings targeted at under-sixes as reactionary and far-right doesn’t help. In my view, it’s moral intimidation in order to silence those who feel that bringing a toned-down variation of adult entertainment into the sphere of early childhood jars with their own values.

Of course introducing children to the world of books and the fun of reading as well as teaching about tolerance, diversity and inclusion is a good thing. But has it to be done by a man dressed up in drag with false breasts impersonating “over-the-top characters with camp glamour”? As a former teacher I can think of all sorts of creative and fun ways to read stories to young kids.

However, Mr Campbell aka Miss Lossie Mouth, a deputy headteacher, prefers to bring his gender-queer drag persona into an early education setting and no doubt he will make good use of his professional teaching skills to inspire his young audience. I assume that he could do the same simply as Mr Campbell.

Ultimately it will be up to parents to judge whether this kind of reading event is suitable for their young children. Like Mr Ross they are, after all, the grown-ups.

Regina Erich, Stonehaven.

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Hard acts to follow

YOU carry a report regarding the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe ("Still Fringe benefits in this time of uncertainty", The Herald June 8) in which you mention that the stand-out themes are class, gender diversity, neurodiversity, disability, politics, mental health and the climate crisis.

I'm sure that like me, many of your readers will remember the not too distant past when stand-out themes at the Fringe would be classed as entertainments such as comedy, theatre, musicians, acrobats/jugglers, mime artists and many other such acts so for a short period of time we could forget about negativity and life's problems and just enjoy some harmless fun.

I'm afraid the topics of the modern Fringe reflect the dreadful state of life today and are subject to an agenda that belongs elsewhere.

James Martin, Bearsden.

Read more: Has the world gone mad? What are we doing to our children?

Take action on cycling menaces

I’M in my late eighties, and pretty fit for my years. I greatly appreciate my ability to still get out and about and be independent. I certainly don’t want that curtailed by a rogue cyclist.

Recently, I embarked on a shopping trip to Byres Road. On the way, I first stopped off in the Botanics to admire the rhododendrons. As I sat on a bench on the path closest to the rhododendron bushes, my quiet enjoyment of the scene was constantly interrupted by passing cyclists, one a delivery bike, another electric, all travelling at some speed. Can this be right? But who was there to haul them up for it?

Then I went over to Byres Road, and a cyclist came whizzing off a side street on to the pavement in front of me, missing me by inches. Involuntarily, I uttered an expletive and shouted to him to get off his bike. He stopped and dismounted, calling out to me rather resentfully that he had been going to get off his bike anyway. He turned and walked away without a word of regret or concern. And of course, none of the numerous passers-by paid any attention to what had occurred.

People have been seriously hurt, even killed, by this sort of thoughtlessness. Incidentally, the young man in question was no ned, and ought to have understood what the consequences might have been of his actions. I’ve now had several narrow escapes of this kind, and I’m truly apprehensive about it.

Can nothing be done to sort this out in the interests of the elderly, and pedestrians in general?

Robert Love, Glasgow.

Can we have our Open back?

WITH all this new money in the game ("McIlroy is left feeling ‘like a sacrificial lamb’ after merger", Herald Sport, June 8), may we hope that golf, and The Open in particular, will return to terrestrial television?

David M Roger, Paisley.

Tears over a letter

THELMA Edwards has often made me smile with her thoughtful, generous, often-whimsical letters. Today she brought me to tears with her memories of her departed daughter (Letters, June 7). A grown man, sitting at a public bar, reading The Herald, greetin'.

Thank you for sharing, Thelma. We should all do more of it.

Steve Brennan, Coatbridge.