First Ever Drag Queen Story Time: Where? Broome County Public Library, Binghamton, NY
Yes, you read that right. Binghamton, NY's Broome County Public Library is planning a "Drag Queen Story Time" on January 13, 2018. An event announcement reads: "Please join us for our first ever Drag Queen Story Time! This is an exciting chance to see live characters from your favorite books. Ariel, Elsa, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella and maybe a surprise guest or two will appear before your eyes and read your favorite stories!"
Is this a random story time in a local area? Absolutely not! There have been a number of such readings done by a group--"Drag Queen Story Hour"-- around the country including here in the Orlando area. DQSH's web site describes it this way: "Drag Queen Story Hour ... is just what it sounds like--drag queens reading 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."
* Definition: "Gender-fluid: of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity is not fixed. ... There are also people who identify as 'gender fluid,' a mix of both genders, and may feel more male on some days and more female on others." (Merriam-Webster)
The DQSH was created by Michelle Tea and Radar Productions in San Francisco, but DQSH happens regularly in LA, New York, San Francisco, and events are popping up all over the world. https://www.dragqueenstoryhour.org/
A Smithsonian.com article: "Drag Queens Are Public Libraries' Newest Storytellers: Early Reading Just Got a Lot More Glamorous" (May 18, 2017) by Erin Blakemore asks us: "Where can you find feathers, fake eyelashes, and fiction for kids? If you're stumped, you must not live in Brooklyn. The city's public library is now ground zero for an unlikely story hour, the Associated Press reports: one hosted by drag queens." Blakemore further writes, "Storytime has become more and more creative over the years. These days, you can find storytime incorporates everything from yoga to geek culture. She adds, "... Reading out loud not only orients kids to books, but helps increase their vocabularies and sets them up for successful literacy. The drag queens of Brooklyn aren't just campy or glam--they're giving the act of reading some much-needed sparkle."
A recent January 2, 2018 article in The Globe in Toronto: "Drag Queen Story Time Teaches Acceptance, Diversity at Toronto Libraries" by Rachael Levy-McLaughlin fills one in on more of how these story hours have gained in popularity. Levy-McLaughlin notes, "Jack Slade's favorite hat is pink and sparkly. But sometimes people tell the nearly 5-year-old that he shouldn't wear it because he's a boy and boys shouldn't wear pink, sparkly things." She adds, "But Jack, sitting among dozens of children at Jones Public Library in Toronto ... listened to a drag queen decked out in sparkly shoes, false eyelashes, and a skirt read stories saying that boys can wear pink, sparkles, and dresses ... 'It's so affirming here,' comments Jennifer Slade, Jack's mother, at Jones library ...."
The article continues, "Even though it's new to the Toronto scene, drag queen story times have become very popular. The Jones library was filled ... with so many families, there was barely standing room .... A dad said, 'It's wild, absolutely fantastic.' And the dad added, 'His 4-year-old daughter loves story times ... and loved seeing the drag queens and their outfits.'"
According to this article, the book read by one of the drag queens was Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis about a boy who loved wearing dresses. The drag queens themselves were recorded as saying they were pleased to be role models for the children. Why, at the end, the article records kids and the drag queens took selfies.
Not in Your Backyard, Yet?
Perhaps, you are appalled by this, but shrug it off with all the hub-bub that's taking place in big city libraries... so what's new? Well, the library in Broome County is not a big city library. And the friends of mine, who live in and near to Broome County, who alerted me to their library's upcoming event could not shrug it off for it was in their backyard! And their backyard is not NY City, San Francisco, or Atlanta! And they were informing each other, and their church wondering how to take a stand ASAP against this event.
Meantime, on the Broome County Public Library Facebook, a battle is raging between a host of supporters for the event, and a few stalwarts who are challenging it. Below photos of sweet-faced little ones are comments such as one who wrote, "This is a wonderful idea! Way to go Broome County!" And the library itself declared, "Throughout history, American public libraries have been on the front lines of the fight to dispel ignorance, intolerance, and bigotry." Only one man dared to bring up verses from Matthew 18 about children.
How horrendous that little ones, in an ever growing number of places, are being subjected to such story readings whether it is at a library, school, or elsewhere. How America has fallen, and how the church has failed, and so few are aware of such happenings. Broome County now is just another place that has opened wide its door to anything in the name of tolerance, love, and inclusiveness. May those Christians who live there have the courage to stand up keeping in mind Jesus' warning found in Matthew 18:10: "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is heaven." As for you, and I let's be ready and prayed up should such an event come to our backyards.
Learn to Discern Granny Verse: Proverbs 17:15
"He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD."