As a daily reminder that not everything in the world is terrible, check out this new video of drag queens reading fairytales to kids at the Brooklyn Public Library, courtesy of Vice. Every month, fabulous readers like Merrie Cherry (pictured above) come to schools and libraries in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to offer a Drag Queen Story Hour full of tales that bend — and even break — gender roles and stereotypes, with readers who serve as "glamorous, positive, unabashedly queer role models."
The Drag Queen Story Hour was conceived by How to Grow Up author Michelle Tea, after she discovered that more traditional storytimes didn't hold her son's attention. "Story time rises or falls on the charisma of the storyteller," she tells The New Yorker, adding, "I have long thought that drag queens need to be the performers at children’s parties, rather than magicians or clowns ... Drag has become more mainstream. Kids might have seen [a drag performer] on a billboard or on TV."
Parents and performers alike recognize the importance of teaching children about gender exploration. Merrie Cherry tells Vice that for children to interact with gender non-conforming people is important in order "to show the next generation that people that are different than them" should not be feared, and that "there is a beauty in that difference." In the future, Merrie Cherry hopes the children who attend Drag Queen Story Hour won't "stare or make fun of someone that looks like me," because all they will see is "a cool-looking person."
Megan Tuohy attends Drag Queen Story Hours with her daughter, and emphasizes that she wants her daughter "to just be whoever she's going to be, and know that her parents are going to love her and be happy whether she's a she or a he or anywhere in between." Tuohy adds that the pushback against diversity in the U.S. has created an imperative to "raise a kind, loving, accepting child."
Feminist Press is currently trying to raise $15,000 to fund Drag Queen Story Hour through 2017. For more information or to donate, visit Feminist Press online.