Drag Queen Story Hour began with the intent of introducing children to the concepts of gender fluidity, proudly queer role models and to expand their imaginations past rigid societal norms. Started in San Francisco by queer author and poet Michelle Tea, it has since spread nationwide, even going overseas to countries like Japan.
I believe it is important to teach children about different walks of life and to allow them to explore the options they can take with their lives. Drag Queen Story Hour is a perfect introduction to that. Introducing children to positive people who happily live their lives outside of society’s norms helps to open children’s’ minds to people that may be different than them or that may actually be more similar to them than expected.
There is a reason so many libraries across the nation and overseas have begun introducing Drag Queen Story Hour, and it’s because people attend with open minds and hearts. But for all who support it, there are many who protest or even abhor it.
In a “Washington Post” article titled “’Drag Queen Story Hour’ shows what’s gone wrong in America,” author Robert Knight makes many anti-queer claims such as, “The whole thing is insane, immoral and should elicit more than Dukakis-style neutrality and societal co-dependence. We’re supposed to be kind to delusional people and get them help, not turn them into role models for young children.” Many people like Knight believe that queer artists and performers such as drag queen are inherently harmful, mentally ill and dangerous, even predatory.
Needless to say, especially in our current year, these people are thankfully a minority, albeit a vocal one. This is proven by the continued support that Drag Queen Story Hour gets. Even in more conservative areas, such as Milwaukee, Drag Queen Story Hour gets more supporters than protesters. To quote Edie Pasek, who organizes Drag Queen Story Hours in the Milwaukee chapter, “Normally we say, ‘It’s O.K. to be the way you are,’ and the people outside are yelling because they don’t want us to be the way we are. And the kids do the Mr. Rogers thing. They say, ‘We like you just the way you are.’”
Children can be taught any lifestyle by the people and the environment they’re raised in. They can be taught to be hateful, they can be taught to be loving, but by default, children are curious. Drag Queen Story Time is not inherently harmful and can only help children understand the world around them. So to the protesters of Drag Queen Story Hour, I’ll quote a Kaiser Permanente commercial: “Too bad.”