The kids are hearing stories, but they’re also getting lessons in love and acceptance
Extravagant dresses, perfectly coiffured wigs, and whole lot of personality is all part of the show. No, it’s not a drag show with adults and booze at a bar, it’s Drag Queen Story Hour at the local library with curious children and their parents. They are reading all of the classics and fairy tales to the kids, giving them lessons in good, evil, and morality. But, there’s something else they’re teaching the kids: imagination and acceptance.
Drag Queen Story Hour is a monthly event at the Brooklyn Public Library and other New York City branches. The idea started at the San Francisco Public Library, where drag queens read to the kids, answer questions, and craft with the kids.
“They’re the next generation, so how we are with them really dictates how the next 30, 40 years are going to be,” Merrie Cherry, a drag queen at Brooklyn’s Public Library said in a Vice News video. Merrie explained that the kids who come into Drag Queen Story Hour act just like the kids did when Merrie was a kid at library story time.”Full of energy and personality, and no borders, which I love about children.” They also arrive with a whole lot of curiosity.
“Aesthetically they just liked looking at me, but I’m like, ‘I’m used to that!'” Merrie says. Merrie doesn’t seem to mind the attention and is hoping to show differences in a positive light to children. “Especially in these times, I think it’s really smart and necessary for us to show the next generation that people that are different from them, you shouldn’t fear them,” Merrie says. “There’s a beauty in that difference.”
Molding kids while they’re young to accept and celebrate differences is how we raise kind and empathetic kids. Raising kids that can flex their mind to encompass all representations of people will be paramount to promoting more peace and less divisiveness.
“From the very beginning kids are pushed into these gender roles which is absolutely absurd because they’re just kids,” Megan Tuohy, a parent at drag story hour remarked. She said she wants her own daughter to be “whoever she’s going to be” and know that her parents will love her whether “she’s a she or a he or anywhere in between.” Setting her child up for the diverse environment we live in is the goal, which is an objective that Merrie passionately shares, too.
“Well for kids, I hope they’re just like ‘Whoa that was a cool looking person,'” Merrie said. “And when they get a little older they see someone that looks a little different, or like me, walking down the street — if they see me they’re not going to stare, or make fun of someone that looks like me.”