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Drag Queen story hour, the facts

This is an excellent article about drag queen story time in public libraries from a local newspaper in my area. In the event you can't get to the article I will copy and paste it without pictures or video of course.


What drag queen storytime is — and what it isn’t, according to metro-east libraries By Lexi Cortes Updated July 01, 2022 9:40 AM Duration 17:08 Full video: Watch the metro-east’s first drag queen storytime event at Caseyville library Caseyville Public Library District hosted Drag Queen Storytime with Chasity Valentino on June 26, 2021. This is the Facebook live feed from the event. By Caseyville Public Library District At two events a year apart, families listened to storybooks read aloud inside the public libraries in Caseyville and Glen Carbon while protesters outside carried signs with messages like “Protect the children.” At a third event in Collinsville, the storybook reader joined families virtually because she said she received death threats leading up to it. These were the libraries’ first children’s storytime events with drag queens as the readers. Drag queens are entertainers who use makeup, wigs and fashion to take on a persona with exaggerated feminine characteristics. Drag queen storytimes have been around since 2015 in other parts of the country. They were first organized in the metro-east in June 2021 at the Caseyville Library District. Collinsville and Glen Carbon libraries hosted theirs this June. The strong reactions from some community members who say they oppose the events stem from misinformation: baseless accusations that drag queens are “grooming” and “sexualizing” children. As the misinformation spread to local communities, librarians were left trying to explain what drag queen storytime events actually are and why they are organizing them. Source of misinformation The legal definition of grooming is gaining a child’s confidence in order to sexually abuse them. Storytime critics say what they mean is that they fear drag queens will “groom” children for a future queer lifestyle, and they fear the events will include sexual content. Drag queen shows for adults in nightclubs and bars can sometimes be risqué, but drag queen storytimes for children in libraries are not. Each event is tailored to the audience. Mother Baltimore A bi-weekly conversation about how we’re covering race and identity in the Metro East, direct to your inbox on Friday afternoon. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. This new use of the word “grooming” started on the fringes of the internet, according to an analysis by Alejandra Caraballo, a clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic. She posted her findings on Twitter earlier this year. Caraballo traced its origins to tweets as early as 2019 from an Irish television writer who has been accused of being transphobic and labeled an anti-trans activist. It also showed up in a 2020 thread on 4chan, the online forum where QAnon began, according to Caraballo. QAnon is a right-wing conspiracy theory that includes anti-LGBTQ elements, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The 4chan thread called for people to comment “OK groomer” on LGBTQ social media posts regarding “sexualization” of children. (“OK groomer” is a reference to “OK boomer,” an insult directed at baby boomers.) This rhetoric moved into the mainstream when some conservative politicians and commentators used it in an attempt to mobilize voters. ‘Everybody’s welcome at the library’ June is Pride Month, when library directors say they want to offer programs featuring LGBTQ people so that anyone from the community who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer sees themselves represented at their library. Tim Bono, a Washington University psychologist, said young children are more likely to be interested in a drag queen’s colorful outfit or makeup than the performer’s gender or sexual orientation, which might not register to them at all. But for older, LGBTQ youth, seeing a public institution bring someone like them into a leadership position as the reader at a storytime event can be reassuring and benefit their mental health in the long term, according to Bono. Caseyville Library Director Ashley Stewart, whose background is in social work, said the goal is to show those young people, “You’re respected here. There’s no judgment at the library. Everybody’s welcome at the library.” “The stats are there that the risk of suicide, suicidal attempts, runaways — it’s all higher, unfortunately, for the LGBTQ community, so we want to help make a community where they all feel welcome and safe,” Stewart said. And one of the goals of any storytime is to promote reading. Library directors in Caseyville and Glen Carbon said their events with drag queens had some of the largest turnouts of programs in recent years. Glen Carbon library officials said at the last village board meeting that attendance was triple the typical number of attendees. Inside a local drag queen storytime event Drag queen Maxi Glamour, who uses the gender-neutral pronoun they, read stories about friendly monsters and positive thinking to families at the Glen Carbon library on June 21. (Maxi Glamour is the name they use both in everyday life and on stage since they legally changed their name.) Glamour also brought music into the storytime event, playing the flute while children clapped or sang from their seats and letting them get up and dance if they wanted to. Library staff put on the soundtrack from “Sing,” an animated children’s musical, and kids twirled and jumped around. Collinsville resident Lisa Bossetto brought her 6-year-old twins to Glen Carbon’s drag queen storytime after missing the one earlier in June at the Collinsville library. Bossetto said afterward she was glad her family came to the event. “They loved it,” she said of her daughters. “It was colorful, good stories, dancing — how could they not love it?” MaxiGlamour.jpg Drag performer Maxi Glamour reads “Leonardo the Terrible Monster,” a book about friendship, to a group of more than 20 children during the drag queen storytime event June 21, 2022, at the Glen Carbon Centennial Library. Lexi Cortes Glen Carbon librarians had asked Glamour to come to the library two weeks before the storytime event so adults, including parents, could meet the performer, ask questions and learn more about the history of drag. About 40 adults attended that event, and they were largely supportive of drag queen storytimes. On the day of the event, about a dozen protesters stood outside the library with signs, including one with an anti-grooming message. A police officer stationed outside the library talked to one of the protesters after he tried to discourage a family from going into the event. The protester told the officer: “All I ended up doing was asking her, ‘Do you wanna put your children through this?’” “In front of two first-graders,” the officer replied. “All those little kids knew is that Mom’s getting talked to by some strange guy with anger issues. Is that who you wanna be?” Stewart, the Caseyville library director, said she saw parents post online about how protesters at metro-east storytimes “scared the kids way more than anything that was inside the library.” Duration 1:22 What are drag queen storytimes like? Here are scenes from the metro-east events Watch clips from the drag queen storytimes at public libraries in Caseyville and Glen Carbon. By Lexi Cortes and Caseyville Public Library District Stewart said she heard the same criticism from opponents in 2021 when the Caseyville library had its drag queen storytime, but she thinks it has gotten worse in 2022 because it is an election year. Chasity Valentino, the drag performer for the Collinsville storytime, wrote about her experience with some opponents in a post on her public Facebook profile: “Unfortunately due to so much hate surrounding me as a trans woman I was not able to be there in the physical. But I was able to read to the children virtually! My first priority was insuring the safety of these young people and not putting them in harms way! I received several death threats throughout this process leading up.” She could not immediately be reached for further comment. The future of local drag queen storytimes Some opponents have argued they do not want their property taxes to go toward organizing drag queen storytime events at public libraries. Library directors have said in response that LGBTQ residents in the community pay taxes that support the libraries, too. Later this year, voters could be asked to weigh in. Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler is trying to put a non-binding referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot in the Glen Carbon and Collinsville library districts that asks: “Shall tax-supported libraries and schools promote drag queen events to minors?” Prenzler, a Republican, said in an interview he opposes drag queen storytimes because he believes drag queens are inappropriate for children. As of late June, Prenzler and supporters of the question were still gathering signatures on their petition to get the referendum on the ballot. Glen Carbon and Caseyville library directors said in interviews they would like to organize drag queen storytimes again. They could not say exactly when it might be added to the events calendar because they try to rotate programming to offer variety to the community. “Libraries will always offer programs and materials for people of all backgrounds by people of all backgrounds,” said Stewart, the Caseyville library director. “It’s our responsibility to not only have that material on our shelves, but also have programs.” This story was originally published July 1, 2022 6:00 AM. BEHIND OUR REPORTING Why we used certain terminology In this article, we used “queer” as an umbrella term covering people who are not exclusively heterosexual and people who are not cisgender. Heterosexual refers to sexual orientation: women attracted to men and vice versa. Cisgender describes people whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth. Gender identity is a person’s sense of feeling male, female, neither or some combination of both. “Queer” has been used as a slur. But some people in the LGBTQ community now use the term to identify themselves. (The “Q” in LGBTQ stands for queer.)

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FvckY0u 8 July 1

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I don't find anything about Drag queens entertaining. I'm not the artsy type by and large. I care that everyone is freely allowed to express themselves in whatever way they see fit so long as that doesn't include violence towards others. Being that my daughter is gay I have more interest in LGBTQ issues than I otherwise would. I simply wish for people to do them and I'll do me and everyone respect one another as well as the law respect everyone equally. With that said I'll fight for the rights of drag queens just like I would anyone else's rights. After all, we're all in this together.


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Unless they're narrow-minded, bigoted idiots......why would anyone object to drag queens? I love them! There's a good humored artistry in that genre which has always appealed to me. Drag queens have been around for thousands of years and my guess is that children, who are often exposed to fantasy in the media, will relate immediately! (Well, unless they're exposed to hate-filled ''xtians' who have no idea what they're doing!)

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