Jan. 18, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
Drag Queen Story Hour, where drag queens read stories to children, is making its way to Long Island City this Friday.
The free program will take place on Jan. 19 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Court Square branch of the Queens Library, located at 25-01 Jackson Ave.
Robyn, a local drag queen, will be conducting the story time.
The story hour, which began in 2015 and has traveled to schools, libraries, and bookstores in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, aims to tap into “the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood,” according to the founders.
“In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real,” reads part of the program’s description on its website.
Drag Queen Story Hour [DQSH] first hit New York by way of a Brooklyn bookstore in 2016. From there, it got the attention of the Brooklyn Public Library. Judy Zuckerman, director of youth and family services for the Brooklyn Public Library, says DQSH is a fun and important program that celebrates diversity.
“It encourages children to look beyond gender stereotypes and embrace unfettered exploration of self,” she said. “Programs like DQSH encourage acceptance of difference and help to prevent bullying, while providing an enjoyable literary experience.”
But the program does have its detractors, with a conservative blogger calling the story time “hyper-politicized”. Last week, a library in Binghamton, New York, responded to a flurry of comments that denounced their plans to bring DQSH to the center, with some calling the program “depraved.”
“Libraries stand for values of freedom, intellect, openness, tolerance, and the opportunity to freely explore the entirety of the world in which we live,” reads part of a message the library wrote on Facebook. “If any of our enrichment programs offend the sensibilities of some of our patrons, they are welcome to exercise their freedom to not participate.”