Our digital intern Mikayla Nogueira was gracious enough and brave enough to spend an hour with me on the air yesterday in a full-throated and heartfelt defense of the drag queen community. Mikayla is no "dumb kid." She is pursuing her master's degree at Bryant University where she also hosts a radio program of her own. Her opinions are thought out and articulated well.

Mikayla is also a makeup artist who is known for her over the top appearance; makeup, clothing, and hairstyles. Her voice is just a bit deeper than most females. With that and her dramatic fashion choices, Mikayla tells me she has been mistaken for a drag queen so often and bullied because of it that she has actually come to sympathize and bond with the drag queen community.

Mikayla's appearance on my program coincides with Drag Queen Story Time to be presented at the New Bedford Free Public Library tomorrow morning. The event is controversial and has its supporters and detractors, and neither side is shy about expressing its views.

I am not a supporter of Drag Queen Story Time but it's not because I hate drag queens. Drag queens are adult entertainers who get paid to entertain in adult venues. Some do it very well and make a decent living. It's a lifestyle choice. I am fine with that. I don't believe, however, that the government should be sponsoring forums on adult lifestyle choices that are geared towards young children.

This is not a "gay issue" and is not about tolerance, diversity or acceptance. It's about people attempting to normalize behavior that is not normal in our society while insisting that their behavior be accepted. The library should not be a vehicle for this type of messaging.

Mikayla recently wrote an opinion piece for our web site which I share with you here in hopes you will consider her point of view on all of this. I have also included a video of her appearance on my program yesterday for you to view for yourself and make up your own mind on this matter:

While I disagree with Mikayla's views, I am reminded that times are changing and that aging coots such as me are no longer making the rules. It's a brave new world in which things are being done very differently from the way we did them. For better or for worse, it is what it is.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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