ASHEVILLE, N.C. (BP) — Public libraries across the country are hosting drag performers for children’s story hours this month. What started as a one-off 2015 event in San Francisco has become a national movement of libraries hiring men dressed as women to read books and sing songs with children, all advertised as kid-friendly exposure to gender fluidity.
The events happen year-round, but more libraries are hosting story hours as part of their June LGBT Pride Month events. Libraries and bookstores in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Vermont are hosting the “Drag Queen Story Hours.”
Organizers say the 45-minute program is designed for children ages 3 to 8. A local drag performer arrives in costume, reads from a selection of two or three books (often with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender themes), leads the children in some song and movement activities, and closes with a craft. Hosts herald the “family-friendly” events as an opportunity to draw children into a message of “inclusivity and acceptance” using sequins, extravagant dresses, face paint, and fun.
“What do drag queens and children have in common? They love dressing up and all things sparkly and fancy!” reads an explanation posted on a Brooklyn Public Library event website. “Drag Queen Story Hour captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity in childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models.”
But sugarcoating the events does not change the fact that these story hours are led by men dressed in overtly feminine and often sexualized outfits, with stuffed bras, fake eyelashes, and heavy lipstick who otherwise entertain crowds at cabarets and nightclubs.
The drag movement, in contrast to the transgender movement, plays to gender differences — men acting like stereotypical women — while trying to erase the notion that biology has anything to say about it. Drag performers relish the fact that they can personify women and yet live day-to-day as men. Drag performers are sometimes at odds with the transgender advocates, who broadly see gender identity as something one should go to great lengths to permanently embrace.
Despite their differences, both movements deny what Scripture makes clear — God created humans in His image, male and female — and what biology confirms — humans are sexually dimorphic mammals. And both are fighting to normalize their worldview with children.
“Children are so impressionable and easily led,” Jeff Johnston, an issues analyst with Focus on the Family, said. “Drag queen story times sow confusion and lies into their hearts and minds at a very formative time of life.”
Johnston added that these events push the narrative that “biological differences don’t really matter, that men and women aren’t different, that a person’s ‘gender’ is fluid and changeable, and that someone may have multiple genders.”
In contrast, Johnston encouraged Christian parents to help their children see their gender as God’s good gift: “We want our daughters to grow up to accept and embrace and enjoy their femininity, knowing deep down that being a girl is a good gift from God. Likewise, we want our sons to grow up to be healthy men who embrace their masculinity and see it as a good gift from God.”