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I'm honestly curious about this sudden surge in drag events for children, whether it's story time in libraries or dress-up events.

Are drag queens the new clowns? Is it a quick and easy way for institutions like libraries to appear diverse and woke in a very visible way? Why drag queens specifically?

Is it an attempt at an intentionally challenging image, to present the most visible and garish image of "queerness" alongside children?

I'm not a fan of drag. I think it's misogynistic but I also don't really care what gay men do in their own spaces.

What are your thoughts?

I'm honestly curious about this sudden surge in drag events for children, whether it's story time in libraries or dress-up events. Are drag queens the new clowns? Is it a quick and easy way for institutions like libraries to appear diverse and woke in a very visible way? Why drag queens specifically? Is it an attempt at an intentionally challenging image, to present the most visible and garish image of "queerness" alongside children? I'm not a fan of drag. I think it's misogynistic but I also don't really care what gay men do in their own spaces. What are your thoughts?

89 comments

[–] goodyusername Team Terflair 42 points

I'll take a shot at this, it's something I've thought about quite a bit, as this is my field.

I agree that drag is misogynist, and you would think that librarians, who are mostly women, would be sensitive to this. Unfortunately, like everywhere, the predominant style is lib-fem style feminism. You hear a lot of complaining on the ground that there are more men in higher paying positions in the field, you can't really ignore that, it's quite obvious. But there is no activism around this. And a few years ago when sexual harassment training became a mandate, I thought the situation that afflicts libraries--harassment from the public towards library staff--would finally be acknowledged. It is ubiquitous. Yet this was barely addressed. It will never fail to astonish me how much misogyny is tolerated in society.

Meanwhile--I'm speaking about public libraries, primarily, but this is true of many school libraries, as well--we've had to justify our budgets, and make a case for why libraries still matter in an increasingly digitized world. Fewer and fewer people need to go to the library to get reading material or to look stuff up. Programs and events enable a library to get people in through the door, and many are not connected to books or reading in any way: Big Truck Day, Psychic "Investigators", etc. I've seen a few fads over the years. For a while every library new/renovated library had a cafe, then 3D printers and maker-spaces were hot, Libraries of Things (borrow a drill or a cake pan!), it's unending. It's expensive to build, maintain and staff these kinds of operations, and you don't see library budgets increasing in many places. Meanwhile you're trying to balance how to accommodate homeless people--sorry, the unhoused-- with the needs of business people who need faster WiFi, getting the staff trained on how to administer NarCan, and running a coding academy...

Don't get me wrong, I love libraries, and most of my colleagues are smart, well-meaning people who have chosen a low-paying profession because they love books and reading, too. But here's the thing: if you're not doing it for the money, and there's maybe not as compelling reason for your profession to exist anymore, you ennoble yourself--we do it to keep information free! to fight censorship! We are the bulwark against racism, the great equalizer of society, all are welcome here! Meanwhile it's 2014, RuPaul and Drag Brunches have become a thing, and you hear that DQST is getting big turnouts, and the only complainers are wild-eyed right-wing Christians from the next town over who don't use the library anyway, so who cares? You get to look like the reasonable, inclusive kind people, love-is-love supporters, the naysayers look like the prudish scolds. (I'm speaking not for myself, I never hosted a DQST, but to give you an idea of the thought process behind those who did and do.)

Like everything else it's a fad that is running its course, and I think it's almost over. It's not a novelty anymore, and gender identity theory is being questioned more widely, not just by conservatives. Pre-pandemic, there was a library running a drag camp, and hosting family drag nights, I don't see that being re-scheduled.

You are right on. I think it's a problem (in the US at least) that public spaces like parks and libraries are being forced to turn into social services for the homeless. No one wants to talk (on the left at least) about how problematic it is to have mentally ill, unbathed, intoxicated people using public services as a campground. I don't know what the solution to this is, but it's sad to see spaces intended for children and families having to serve this kind of dual purpose.

[–] goodyusername Team Terflair 6 points

It's been like this forever. There are libraries in the US with full-time social workers on staff, it's a thing. Where is the tipping point between being a library and a community recreation center with a small book collection?

I'd be flamed for saying any of this on library forums. Torched.

I'd be flamed for saying any of this on library forums.

This attitude kills me. Letting public spaces turn into open-air homeless shelters and drug markets does nothing to help people who are suffering from mental illness and addiction.

Of course, if you say that normies should get to go to the library with their kids without feeling threatened, you're a FaScIsT!1!!1

Thank you for the insider insight.

Sadly, I've heard horror stories from librarians who have had to deal with the belligerent homeless population. If they take ANY measures to protect themselves and prevent addicts from leaving syringes in the library bathrooms, they're painted as stuck-up b!tches who want "unhoused people" to die

[–] Owlchaser 5 points Edited

and there's maybe not as compelling reason for your profession to exist anymore, you ennoble yourself

We are the bulwark against racism, the great equalizer of society, all are welcome here!

So depressing. I love libraries. I've enjoyed them a lot less since more homeless/loud people started using them to just sit around and talk loudly, and play audible music. I've been approached by a couple homeless people and felt creeped out/unsafe-- and had other experiences where people had really bad body odor, to the point that you can't sit around them.

But that said, the library is one of the few true community gathering places left in society. I love the fact that people can hold events and clubs in the bookable rooms. I love that some of those events are social in nature, and others are more informative. Not that mine gets a lot of use-- but if the library to close or be reduced to a book drop, the possibility would be gone completely to have a place to just go, get out of the house, sit in relative quiet/comfort away from the elements. And to be around other people-- which is REALLY important for people who live alone and otherwise would be very isolated.

I hate what's becoming of our libraries. That the most events held there, aside from seniors or baby days, are all about LGBTBBQ+, and especially trans.

Like everything else it's a fad that is running its course, and I think it's almost over.

Please, please, please be right. I'm so sick of this. Can we not simply have normal story hours where kids don't have ANYTHING adult spewed at them.

[–] hmimperialtortie AGP = evil 3 points

I've enjoyed them a lot less since more homeless/loud people started using them to just sit around and talk loudly, and play audible music.

Uni students blasting the place with their music and loud conversations ruined the State Library for me many years ago. Now the regional ones I’ve visited are a combination of kindergarten and trans indoctrination centre. That, on top of the selection of subjects being meh, means I stay well away.

I don’t get it either. In their own words (quote from the front page of drag queen story hour dot org):

It encourages children to look beyond gender stereotypes and embrace unfettered exploration of self. Programs like DQSH encourage acceptance of difference and help to prevent bullying.

Frankly doesn’t make any sense to me - dressing up as an exaggerated stereotype of a woman isn’t “beyond stereotypes” just because it’s a man doing it.

And if “encouraging acceptance of difference” is the goal, why is it ONLY men in dresses reading to kids? Why not invite disabled people, people of other cultures/nationalities/races, elder people, neurodiverse people… so many choices. Maybe even gay people who aren’t wearing offensive costumes?

Bingo. The highly sexualized nature of these performances is lost on small children anyway (hopefully). Learning that some families have two moms or two dads is really all they need to know about homosexuality. If the point is gender nonconformity, there are dozens more age-appropriate options. Bring in a female scientist to do a science show. Kids love colorful smoke and explosions. What about a female firefighter or paramedic?

This is entirely about the QT, pedos, and/or kinksters using children to validate their lifestyle.

Encourage children to look beyond gender stereotypes and embrace unfettered exploration of self by portraying a very specific stereotype as the only acceptable self expression.

they are pedo bait. these kids serve a very specific function. they become the unwitting aide in a masturbatory paraphiliac's fantasy,

And if “encouraging acceptance of difference” is the goal, why is it ONLY men in dresses reading to kids? Why not invite disabled people, people of other cultures/nationalities/races, elder people, neurodiverse people… so many choices. Maybe even gay people who aren’t wearing offensive costumes?

This would be a MUCH better way to foster tolerance in children than having a man read to them while cosplaying as Tammy Faye Baker. Especially since disabled people and the elderly don't get as much mainstream attention as the gender goblins.

But I guess old people and the handicapped don't net as many woke, virtue signaling points as men in dresses

[–] Gladys_Kravitz 16 points Edited

Why not include other children for these kids to interact with? They can share about their lives with other kids who are on their same level.

I don't know how it is in most schools these days, but at my elementary school all of the "different" kids were in separate special ed classes. We never interacted with them, ever.

So why not have a group of diverse children who can just play and be kids together while learning tolerance and empathy for others?

So why not have a group of diverse children who can just play and be kids together while learning tolerance and empathy for others?

Actual diversity doesn't matter because it doesn't make men's weiners hard

I honestly think the people doing this are homophobes who are trying to virtue signal that they are gay allies. If their goal was really to help normalize homosexuality, they'd just bring in a normal gay man (or lesbian woman, gasp!). Just a regular gay person who talks about their life for a bit and then mentions that they're gay, introducing kids to the fact that there are lots of gay people around and they are just like anyone else regardless of who they're attracted to. Instead, when these "wokesters" think of a gay man, their first thought is "drag queen"? Some of these kids have never, as far as they know, met a gay person before, so it seems pretty toxic that what may be their first introduction to a gay man is seeing a man doing an adult entertainment act where he's caricaturizing a woman. Why would this be how you want children to see gay people? A boy questioning if he is gay might, after "drag queen story hour," be more hesitant now that he thinks being gay involves this level of performance or "queerness," rather than knowing that whichever sex(es) he ends up being attracted to has nothing to do with his personality.

This is a good point. If this is a child's first encounter with gay folks (or even the concept of homosexuality), its going to leave a VERY bizarre, bad impression on them. Instead of being taught that gay people are just like everyone else, they're being taught that all gay men are flamboyant clowns (and that lesbians apparently don't exist because being "queer" is ALL ABOUT MEN). Which will likely cause quite a bit of confusion for kids who grow up to be homosexual, but would rather stay in the closet because they want no part of "queer" clownery

[–] real_feminist 41 points Edited

I think we should start showing up outside of libraries and whatnot with signs like "Misogyny is NOT progressive" or "Stop Mocking Women" or whatever. I think most people thoughtlessly assume that they're supporting LGBTQIAAMNOPQ+ people without considering that they're just watching grown men mock women.

The TRAs have done a very good job of falsely portraying anyone who opposes them as 'transphobic' and we need to start making it clear to people that it's not 'conservative v. progressive' but '(conservative/status quo + progressive) v. regressive'.

"Gays against drag" "Woman is not a costume" "Drag is for adults"

And a sign that says "Coulrophobia Is Not Bigotry." Make coulrophobia the new word to latch onto as a rallying cry. Coulrophobia is neither left- nor right-wing. It's not a political ideology to be fearful of clowns.

we need to start making it clear to people that it's not 'conservative v. progressive' but '(conservative/status quo + progressive) v. regressive'.

This is so important and completely misunderstood by the masses. We're brainwashed in adolescence (or earlier!), that one of the worst things a girl can be is "uptight" or a "prude." I think that this mindset makes it extremely hard for us to think of these issues from a different angle. I have always been uncomfortable with drag for the same reasons that I am now, but it took me a long time to convince myself that my reasons were valid, real, and important, and not necessarily coming from the same place as a more conservation reaction. Ours is a viewpoint that simply does not exist in the general public, and we need to find a way to change that.

I sometimes worry that I’m a prude or uptight or just old. But then I say no to myself. Kids are exposed from a very young age to drag queens, gender lessons and cartoon videos about masturbation. For some, their exposure to porn starts at 10 years-old. It’s a hyper-sexualized world for them, and I feel like there’s a nefarious motive behind it. I guess I want children to have their innocence for the brief time in their lives that it lasts.

Predatory grooming of children, being retconned as "inclusivity" and a "civil rights movement." Same with all this intentional pushing of TRA/NB/Tumblr nonsense on the younger set. I used to try to be "tolerant" but it's so in-your-face and deliberate now that I really can't see it as anything else.

Are drag queens the new clowns?

Yes. So was John Wayne Gacy. I'll just leave that there.

[–] Gladys_Kravitz 21 points Edited

I think most people view them similar to birthday clowns. Colorful, loud, silly, etc. Things like that are typically associated with children.

I have a strong feeling the adults who support this have never actually been to a drag show. They think it's all glittery makeup, costumes, music, silliness, etc. They aren't aware of just how sexual these performances actually are.

Edit:

I also think there's a degree of pity. Parents pity the men who dress up as drag queens, they see how "weird" they are and assume everyone in the gay man's life is hostile and homophobic. They want to separate themselves from the terrible homophobes who give these ludicrous gay men a hard time.

The parents most likely feel an initial shock and revulsion to the drag queens, and what follows is shame and pity. Shame they initially felt repulsed by these men, and then pity for how often these men get that reaction.

So they attempt to assuage their shame and guilt by going overboard and offering up their children as sacrificial lambs, just to prove how un-homophobic they are.

I think most people view them similar to birthday clowns. Colorful, loud, silly, etc. Things like that are typically associated with children.

Precisely. In other words - it's viewed how blackface was 100 years ago. Harmless silly entertainment.

My personal thoughts are that not everyone who brings their kids there or allows in their community is intentionally trying to groom kids. I think a lot of people are just really stupid. They see bright colours and they go “oh it’s for kids!” Like how some people thought family guy was for kids because it was a cartoon. If they realize the sexual nature of it, by then it’s too late to say something without looking like a “Karen” (I believe this is a bad word to use but for the sake of making it clear how they weaponize it I’ve included it). Most people don’t want to destroy their social life, standing in the community, etc to stand up against something that they can’t make the connection to immediate harm.

Gay culture was always flanked by BDSM, self-harm and other weird sub-cultures and paraphilias, so when the ‘T’ latched on, all the gross sexual stuff oozed out as trans started leading the train into the corporate mainstream. Now we have things like gender-bending sex shows for kids (that are extremely inappropriate for kids) being held up as “LGBT progress” because, idk, whatever makes dicks hard, I guess?

[–] RawSienna 13 points Edited

My guess is because it’s a way to get a foothold to indoctrinate kids from an extremely young age by passing it off as a type of dress-up/clown/make-believe entertainment. It gets them used to the lingo and sexual suggestiveness from an early age. In other words, it’s a woke veneer for a type of grooming, being passed off as harmless. Has Jimmy Savile vibes.

Edit: who benefits by exposing (sorry, not intentional) children to an adult male, gay, subculture? Why is this deemed necessary to shove at kids, who if they grow up to be gay men, will learn about it anyway? Why can’t the library hire actors to be in character for the stories they read? This is an adult-driven agenda and is not benign. There have already been cases of pedos doing this and cases of indecent exposure.

I was honestly wondering the same thing!! When did drag queen story hour become a thing literally EVERYWHERE? Especially because drag shows are by definition sexualized. I really don’t get it.

I hate drag - it’s woman face

I’m really glad it’s not just me that can’t stand drag. Ru Paul’s drag race was insufferable

I didn't even bother to watch the SNL skits the week where he was hosting because I find him so disgusting and insufferable.

I think it became a thing because a few libraries did it, there was a huge conservative backlash, and then librarians jumped at the chance to own the cons.

There's definitely a thing where one side does something dumb, the other side overreacts and makes it a thing, and then the original side doubles down and starts doing it even MORE because they can. It happens on both sides. It's basically trolling. And then the other side starts saying "see? we had to make a huge deal about this because it really DID spread like wildfire" without acknowledging that their dumb overreaction is part of what made it spread like wildfire in the first place.

I know this take won't be super popular here. I don't like drag at all, let alone DQSH. And I think bringing your kid to it is more likely to wind up being confusing for them than a "learning experience" for tolerance and inclusion. But also, I don't think it's on the same level as socially or medically transitioning your kid. And as long as it's not in schools, I don't mind it being an opt-in program at the library, honestly. I'd love it if the library would host more events that I don't want to go to by people I disagree with. As we move into a more digital era, I think public libraries could really become a space for free exchange of ideas, if they wanted to. Unfortunately, I think they probably won't.

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