Is Drag Queen Story Hour appropriate for children?

A series of Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) events are currently taking place in libraries across the UK. No matter where you stand on feminist issues, and whatever the content of this story hour, surely one has to wonder if this is an appropriate event for children.

Drag is a highly sexualised form of adult entertainment. Men dressed up in a highly sexualised, parody of a woman, with tight costumes through which genitalia are visible.

DQSH events claim to promote diversity among children and encourage them to look beyond gender stereotypes, but surely by presenting such a stereotypical and overly sexualised image of a woman this is in fact reinforcing gender stereotypes?

One DQSH performer has stated that his aim is to promote “acceptance and inclusivity”. What exactly does this mean? The discussion of issues of identity, gender and sexuality are absolutely not appropriate for the age groups these events are aimed at, and should only be delivered by properly qualified adults. This session is therefore potentially contrary to both basic safeguarding principles and Government guidance, which says that relationship and sex education teaching must be “evidence-based and contain robust facts”. Sex (biology) and gender (feelings) should not be confused, and discussion of these should be done by qualified professionals.

And what has happened to safeguarding in this desire to be inclusive? DQSH state that all their performers are DBS checked, however there is much more to safeguarding than this. The image below shows a DQSH performer in close contact with children, which anyone trained in safeguarding knows is inappropriate.

Indeed, one US drag queen who participated in DQSH in the US, Alberto Garza has been convicted of sexually abusing an 8 year old boy, and yet was still allowed to read to children in US public libraries. Another, Brice Patric Ryschon Williams, has been charged with 25 criminal offences related to child sexual abuse images.

If you have previously thought that drag is a bit of harmless fun, please think again. It is a misogynistic reinforcement of sexual stereotypes, and it has no place in the entertainment or education of children.

Written by Sue S