It has come to light recently, that many public and private schools are incorporating a program called, “Drag Queen Story Hour” to teach children about gender identity.
The program originated in San Francisco, and was done in libraries wherein someone would come in drag to read stories to children. This venue left the choice of attending or not up to the parents. However, now it is being promoted in schools- and it’s not just a friendly story time.
According to this video constructed by videographer Sean Fitzgerald and the David Horowitz Freedom Centre, “Drag Queen Story Hour” is being done in schools as is evident in the testimonials by teachers. According to the video, the purpose of the story time is to teach that there are no real differences between men and women. Gender, according Drag Queen Story Hour, is “forced social constructs forced upon us by a hateful society”. It’s target audience is pre-school to age 8.
Attention was given to the video not because of the existence of the program itself, but because it was being taught to children as an impressionable age.
Drag Queen Story Hour says that it is about “drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real.”
The New York Times said one of the event done at a branch of the New York Public Library consisted of a six-foot tall performer called “Harmonica Sunbeam” who wore a neon camouflage bodysuit and a purple tutu. The story was “Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress” by Christine Baldacchino. The synopsis of the book was about a boy who wore a beloved dress to school daily, and his friends informing him at one point that he can’t play in their imaginary spaceship because ‘astronauts don’t wear dresses’.
The organizations About page contains testimonials from teachers and librarians who have hosted an event. Alexis Hernandez who is a first-grade teacher in a Brooklyn public school applauded the program writing, “What an amazing way to teach about individuality, empathy, and acceptance! Drag Queen Story Hour gave my first graders a fun and interactive platform to talk and think about social and emotional issues like acceptance, being yourself, and loving who you are…During our debrief after DQSH, they were preaching the incredible lessons they had learned like ‘It’s ok to be different,’ and ‘There’s no such thing as ‘boy’ things and ‘girl’ things.”
Fitzgerald noted in his article in the Daily Caller, that the his issue with the public school story hour is “The taxpayer is funding adult-themed performers to come and read to our smallish children in order to indoctrinate them into a political ideology about gender while, at the same time, school districts across the country are removing any and all references to biological sex from science textbooks.”
The Drag Queen Story Hour was originally founded in 2014. It has chapters in 20 states, the U.K. and is quickly expanding into new territories.