A bill introduced Monday in the Minnesota House would pull public funding from libraries that host “drag queen story hour” performances for children.
“For calendar year 2021 and later, a public library that hosts a drag queen story hour event shall have regional library system support aid from the Department of Education reduced by 100 percent,” states House File 4323.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe) and has four Republican cosponsors. The legislation states that any public library that hosts “a drag queen story hour event is ineligible for” financial support from the Department of Education.
The Metro Regional Arts Council, which is funded by taxpayer dollars, recently awarded $6,950 in funding to a group called “Viva La Pepa” for the “next season of free drag story hour performances in Minneapolis and St. Paul.”
Republican lawmaker Rep. Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) called on Hennepin County Libraries last year to cancel its weekly series for children called “Stories Together With Drag Performers.” During one of those events, a drag queen who routinely poses half-nude performed for toddlers at Augsburg Park Library in Richfield, The Minnesota Sun reported.
“This kind of adult content is neither appropriate for children nor helpful for their learning and development,” said Franson. “Child literacy is crucial and reading to kids is very important to improving literacy, but bringing in adult performers to read to them is not the way to improve our standing.”
The St. Paul Public Library system was scheduled to host three “drag story hours” last year. The library said the events were suitable for babies and preschool-age children.
“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 a statement. “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.”
The city of Leander, Texas was praised by pro-family advocates in September after it voted to stop renting out space at the local library to public organizations, effectively canceling all “drag queen story hour” events.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Drag Queen Story Hour” by San Jose Public Library. CC BY-SA 2.0.