St. Paul Public Library is scheduled to host three “Drag Story Hours” throughout the summer that will “bring together a traditional library storytime with the performance art of drag.”
“Participants can expect to sing children’s songs, listen to stories about kindness and inclusion, make crafts, and join in a dance party,” an event description states.
St. Paul Public Library, which has 13 locations throughout the city, claims that the events are suitable for babies and preschool-age children. The first event in the series is set to take place Wednesday, June 12 at the George Latimer Central Library, with the second scheduled for June 15 at the Hamline Midway location, and the third set for June 18 at Metropolitan State University.
“Drag Story Hour is made possible by a generous donation to The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library and the support of the City of Saint Paul and Metropolitan State University,” the library claims.
“Do we really have to say that drag queens reading to kids and dancing with them is inappropriate?” John Helmberger, CEO of the Minnesota Family Council, said in response. “Because libraries offer so many helpful programs for kids, they are a trusted resource that families rely on, especially when summer rolls around. But that trust can sometimes be misplaced.”
Helmberger said that Drag Story Hour “attempts to present an image of drag performers as ambassadors for the LGBTQ community rather than adult entertainers.”
“In effect, [Drag Story Hour] brings a sanitized version of nightclub entertainment to children’s settings, such as schools and libraries,” he continued. “This tends to normalize adult sexual proclivities for very young audiences—in fact, it makes children props in an adult spectacle.”
A website for the national organizers behind “Drag Queen Story Hour” reveals that the events are intended to capture “the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood” while giving “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 website adds.
Drag events for children have attracted national attention in recent weeks, with an op-ed in The New York Times demanding that “Drag Queen Story Hour” be left alone. As The Ohio Star reported, an Ohio library was recently pressured into canceling a “drag 101” event for children after state lawmakers got involved.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to email@example.com.
Photo “St. Paul Central Library” by McGhiever. CC BY-SA 3.0.