Drag

Drag Queen Story Hour hits back at efforts to ban kids from drag shows

Lily Wakefield June 11, 2022
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Drag queen Pickle reads from a book during a Drag Queen Story Hour event at the West Valley Regional Branch Library in Los Angeles, California

Drag queen Pickle reads from a book during a Drag Queen Story Hour event at the West Valley Regional Branch Library in Los Angeles, California.(Getty/ David McNew)

Drag Queen Story Hour has hit back at Republicans who want to ban children from attending drag shows: “Drag queens aren’t going into schools to shoot kids.”

Drag Queen Story Hour is an organisation that operates across the US, bringing drag queens to libraries, schools, and bookstores to read stories to children.

It aims to celebrate diversity, “capture the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and give kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models”.

Turing Pride month, Republican Texas state representative Bryan Slaton announced plans to ban children from attending drag performances, while in Florida, supported by anti-LGBTQ+ governor Ron DeSantis, state representative Anthony Sabatini said he wanted to make it a felony offence and “terminate the parental rights of any adult who brings a child to these perverted sex shows”.

two queens a Drag Queen Story Hour event at Cellar Door Books in Riverside, California
Queens a Drag Queen Story Hour event at Cellar Door Books in Riverside, California. (AFP via Getty/ FREDERIC J. BROWN)

But Drag Queen Story Hour’s executive director Jonathan Hamilt told The Independent: “Any attempt to criminalise our work is rooted in tired homophobic and transphobic hate and misinformation, and we refuse to give in to politicians who are too bigoted and boring to comprehend our vision for a world in which every child can be safe fully expressing who they are.”

However, he explained that the the bizarre efforts to criminalise drag were just “smoke and mirrors” to distract from the epidemic of mass shootings across the US.

He continued: “You know, 19 students just got shot in Texas, and Texas legislation wants to ban minors from going to drag shows. It makes zero sense.

“It’s a sad, sorry excuse… [for] the lack of gun control, and that’s the real issue.

“Drag queens aren’t going into schools to shoot kids… when did we decide that it’s appropriate to teach kids how to hide under desks and not to talk about LGBTQ+ people and histories?”

Hamilt cited statistics from Everytown for Gun Safety, which has recorded 96 shootings on school grounds so far this year, resulting in 40 deaths.

“There’s been like 40 deaths [in school shootings] this year, and no children have been killed or hurt by anybody who attended a Drag Queen Story Hour, or at any Pride event,” he said.

“If people really wanted to protect children, it wouldn’t be banning LGBTQ+ education, it would be banning guns.”

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