Politics

Pride month: Local governments host Drag Queen Story Hour events across country

Dozens of taxpayer-funded libraries and other government agencies across the country are hosting drag queen storytime for children as young as 3 as LGBTQ Pride Month kicked off the month of June.

The DC Public Library is co-hosting a Drag Storytime with performer IttyBitty in Adams Morgan, where “children of all ages” are invited to learn about “diversity, self-love and an appreciation of others.”

At the Berkeley Public Library in California, kids are invited to gather in the children’s room for a “fun game of Lotería,” similar to Bingo, with “drag queen and educator” Bella Aldama.

Children of “all ages” are invited to Drag Story Hour at the West Hollywood branch of the LA County Public Library, which is produced by Pickle the Drag Queen.

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The Oakland Public Library is hosting a drag queen storytime with “local Latinx non-binary storyteller Per Sia.”

The Petaluma, Rincon Valley, Windsor and Central Santa Rosa public libraries in Sonoma County, California, are hosting drag story hours for infants through 6th grade.

“Books, Prizes & Events!” the event description reads. “Meet drag king Vera, who will read children’s books and engage in other fun learning activities.”

At the Lafayette Public Library in Colorado, children of “all ages” are invited to attend a storytime with entertainer Shirley Delta Blow.

“Come dressed in your finest!” the event description states. “Drag Queen Storytime captures the imagination and gender fluidity of childhood play and shows children that people come in all shapes, sizes, and forms!”

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At the Denver Public Library, kids as young as 5 have their pick of at least three different drag queen events at different branches, including a storytime, karaoke and Bingo with Delta Blow.

The Rowley, Haverhill, Amesbury and Wilmington public libraries in Massachusetts are co-hosting a virtual event called, “Dishing Out Drag,” so that kids as young as 13 can “experience the world of drag through the eyes of popular New England Drag Queen Giganta Smalls.”

The Brookline Public Library, also in Massachusetts, is hosting a drag queen story hour to promote “self-love, creativity, and literacy” for “kids ages 3-8.”

The New York Public Library is holding a Drag Story Hour twice this month at the Riverside branch for children ages 3 to 12.

“Drag Story Hour is a storytelling program designed for children,” the event description reads. “A local drag artist will read picture books, sing songs, and lead other age-appropriate activities.”

In Connecticut, the Chappaqua Library is hosting a drag queen storytime “geared to children 3-6.”

“Come meet the fabulous Angel Elektra, Drag Queen Extraordinaire, for a fun filled storytime with books and songs!” the event description reads.

The Tigard Public Library in Oregon is hosting a drag queen storytime for kids with Miss Poison Waters.

The Hoboken Public Library in New Jersey is hosting a drag queen story hour with Harmonica Sunbeam in Church Square Park, where Mayor Ravi Bhalla is also expected to participate.

Local governments are also holding all-ages Pride events that include public drag queen performances.

In Mansfield, Connecticut, all ages are invited to a drag queen story hour in Betsy Paterson Square as part of the town’s Pride Month celebration.

In Fairfax, Virginia, all ages are invited to its Pride event at Old Town Hall, which will include a “dance party featuring several drag queen performances throughout the evening.”

The Slover public library in Norfolk, Virginia, is hosting a Bingo pride event encouraging children of all ages to join for “an hour of fabulous BINGO fun with local drag queen legends Jennifer Warner and Sabrina Laurence.”

The parks department in Montgomery County, Maryland, is hosting a virtual drag queen story hours for kids with performer D’Manda Martini.

Drag queens are even scheduled to appear at public elementary schools this month.

“Popular Seattle drag queen, Aleksa Manila will be stopping by Whittier to spend an evening with us to read stories and have some fun!” reads an event description on the Whittier Elementary School PTA website in Seattle.

“Drag Queen story time is all about love, acceptance, inclusion and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models!” it says. “During story times like this one, kids will be able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where everyone can be their authentic selves!” 

Last month, Montana became the first state to specifically ban people dressed in drag from reading books to children at public schools and libraries, part of a host of legislation aimed at the rights the LGBTQ+ community in Montana and other states.

Bills in Florida and Tennessee also appear to try to ban drag reading events, but both require the performances to be sexual in nature, which could be up for interpretation. Both bills also face legal challenges.

Montana’s law is unique because — while it defines such an event as one hosted by a drag king or drag queen who reads children’s books to minor children — it does not require a sexual element to be banned.

The bill, which was co-sponsored by more than half of the Republican-controlled legislature, took immediate effect after Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed it on Monday.

Gianforte signed the bill because he “believes it’s wildly inappropriate for little kids, especially preschoolers and kids in elementary school, to be exposed to sexualized content,” spokesperson Kaitlin Price said in a statement.

Drag performers who opposed the legislation said they have separate drag performances for children compared to those intended for adults.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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