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Swedish government grants $175,000 to fund drag queen story hours for children

Emma Powys Maurice November 10, 2019

Drag Queen Story Hour at a bookshop in California (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/ Getty)

The Swedish government is investing SEK 1.7 million, the equivalent of $175,000, to fund drag queen story hour shows for children and those with disabilities.

The investment will come from the Swedish Inheritance Fund, a state body that manages the inheritance money of Swedes who die without a written will and next of kin.

The funds will be given primarily to Kulturföreningen Mums, a politically independent association in Stockholm that aims to broaden Sweden’s cultural offerings with a special focus on LGBT+ issues, diversity and equality.

“The project will, together with children, young people and adults with disabilities, develop available normative creative fairy tales in the form of drag shows,” said Sweden’s General Heritage Foundation.

“Together with the target group and several organisations, the established business Among Dragons and Drag Queens will create new fairy tales that reflect the target group.”

The initiative will promote projects “based on the needs and wishes of the target group,” which includes drag show workshops based around drag queens reading storybooks to children in libraries.

Drag queens Athena Kills (L) and Scalene Onixxx (R) read to children at a drag queen story hour in California (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty)

Other large chunks of money from the inheritance pot will be given to left-wing groups, including one that promotes “a higher climate commitment” for young people.

Drag queen story shows are gaining popularity as a fun and educational way to celebrate diversity, giving children a space to see people who defy gender restrictions.

“I can only see the project as good,” wrote one positive Swede on Twitter. “Children in general, and especially children with a functional impairment, do not see drag artists in the same way that adults do.

“It’s not about influencing the children. The fairy tales are the [same] ones we can all borrow from the libraries.”

The idea behind drag queen story hour began in San Francisco and quickly grew into a global phenomenon, but the backlash has been equally as strong.

Earlier this year the organisers of one event in Houston, Texas were forced to cancel following continued harassment and death threats from conservative Christians.

A similar event in Ottawa was interrupted by an angry Christian who burst in to tell the audience of small children that they would be “cast into a lake of fire.”

More: drag queen story hour, Drag Queen Storytime, drag queens, stockholm, Sweden

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