Drag Queen Story Time is an age-old tale of good versus evil


* All opinions expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and not of the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Drag queens reading to kids doesn’t teach them to challenge their gender, it just encourages them to accept that some people do.

Damian Kerlin is an LGBTQ+ and culture journalist, gay parenting advocate and blogger based in Wales.

If parents want to take their kids to Drag Queen Story Time, that’s their decision.

Drag has long been a part of mainstream British pop culture, from Lady Edna to Lily Sauvage. It’s not just about fabulous queens competing on RuPaul’s Drag Race; there is the Panto Lady and even Mr Tumble performs in drag on the BBC Children’s Channel. So how did we get to a place where a man in a robe is automatically considered a threat to children?

Drag Queen Storytimein which drag queens read stories to children, was recently drawn into the midst of a culture war that is currently engulfing the UK.

This summer, groups including gender critics and ‘devout’ Christians held up signs saying ‘Welcome groomers’ and ‘Once upon a time’ outside Reading Libraries in Bristol when Drag Queen Story Hour events were due to take place . They asked parents why they took their children to see a “paedophile”.

The idea that a drag queen reading the Gruffalo, a popular children’s book, in a library full of children could somehow be sexual is frankly ridiculous. We are talking here about an imaginary creature.

Calling drag performers “healers” is the latest in an unimaginative strategy to insult and assassinate the opposition.

It is exactly this frivolity that is so dangerous to the very real and devastating experience of sexual abuse. Using these words in this way empties them of their true meaning and desensitizes the hurt and lasting trauma of those involved.

It doesn’t shock me that these groups believe they have the right to deprive others of decisions for what they believe to be “best.” They brag about free speech, until you exercise your right to free speech and disagree with them. Then they attack and put down in hopes that you will give in and side with them.

What a nice bunch of bigots.

Growing up as a gay man, throughout my educational experience, I have not come across any books, authors, or courses that acknowledge homosexuality.

I’ve never been in a classroom where transgender issues were discussed, and I think that’s detrimental to young people. With the normalization of homosexuality, many right-wing groups have essentially sought out a new demographic to demonize and blame for what they see as the social ills of today’s society.

It is so easy to present homophobia and transphobia as a concern for children.

We weren’t born to hate, we were taught that; and the only way to overcome hatred is to see the world in its many colors.

Drag Queen Story Hour doesn’t teach kids to challenge their gender, it just teaches them to accept that some people do. It is a platform to share the beauty of acceptance.

The real problem is not in exposing children to the reality of diverse sexualities and gender identities, those that do not fit typical definitions of masculinity or femininity, but rather in not providing gender non-conforming children with other models as they begin to sort out their feelings. about who they are authentically.

I don’t know if my kids are straight, gay, trans, non-binary, or anything in between, but I want them to experience and meet others who are, so they have the confidence to make informed decisions about their identity as they grow.

Ultimately, it teaches my children to accept the differences in this world. This normality is only a social construction and that anyone can be whoever they want to be.

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