The Brooklyn Public Library in New York City hosts a once-monthly Drag Queen Story Hour for children.
Kids and their parents gather in their seats to listen to drag queens read fairy tales and other children’s books.
‘They’re the next generation, so how we are with them really dictates how the next 30, 40 years are going to be,’ says Merrie Cherry, one of the drag queens who participates in the event.
Having drag queens interact with children is important to their exploration of gender, showing them that even boys can present feminine.
‘They’re full of energy, just like I remembered when I was a child,’ Merrie Cherry says of the children who attend the event. ‘Full of energy and personality, and no borders, which I love about children.’
‘Aesthetically, they just like looking at me,’ Merrie Cherry explains, with a laugh. ‘But I’m like, “I’m used to that!”’
‘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 Cherry states. ‘There’s a beauty in that difference.’
A parent’s response
‘This is actually the second Drag Queen Story Hour we’ve come to,’ says Megan Tuohy, a parent. ‘We loved it so much that we put it on our calendar to come back.’
‘From the very beginning, kids are pushed into these gender roles, which is absolutely absurd because they’re just kids,’ Tuohy says.
‘I want her to have the opportunity 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 and does anything in the world that she wants to do,’ Tuohy says of her daughter.
‘Well, for kids, I hope they’re just like, “woah, that was a cool looking person.” And when they get a little older and 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,’ Merrie Cherry says.
‘I think it’s very important that we expose our kids as young as possible to as much of a diverse environment as possible,’ Tuohy states.
‘I think right now we’ve see that there are a lot of people in our nation who do not do that, or do not embrace that, and so I think now more than ever it’s really important that I raise a kind, loving, accepting child and we start with that from the very beginning.’
These drag queen story hours are held in NYC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Learn more about them on their website.