Drag Queen Story Hour opposed by local parents.
Local libraries in Connecticut are ramping up efforts to intentionally excite children with grotesque and overly-sexualized depictions of women in the library. Under the guise of “making reading fun,” librarians at the West Hartford Public Library will “place young children in close proximity with adults who are intentionally and explicitly sexualized.” This, in contradiction to their stated policies and over the objection of local parents.
West Hartford Public Library Policy Manual, Patron Rules of Conduct prohibits “inappropriate conduct” including “Engaging in any activity in violation of Federal, State, local or other applicable law, or Library policy”. Section 53-21 of the Connecticut General Statutes states “(a) Any person who (1) wilfully or unlawfully causes or permits any child under the age of sixteen years to be placed in such a situation that . . . the morals of such child are likely to be impaired, or does any act likely to impair the health or morals of any such child” is subject to fines, arrest and worse. For generations, escorting children to nightclubs or other places of ill-repute was considered child-abuse or neglect, worthy of judicial or police inquiry. Not anymore, your local librarian is bringing the nightclub to your childrens’ hour.
Drag queens are regularly introduced as “she” and “her” and therefore set unrealistic and perverse standards of femininity for young children. With hopelessly naive parents clapping their approval, a rather un-ladylike show often takes place.
If enjoying a good story and developing a love of reading is the goal, could the librarian think of a bigger distraction than a drag queen to present it? Not even all drag queens are amused. Sometimes we should trust the wisdom of drag queens like Kitty Demure and not expose children to sexually-charged visuals just to promote the latest political trends.
West Hartford Public Library Policy Manual also identifies criteria for speakers at the library. The criteria includes the “treatment of content for the intended audience” and “presenter background/qualifications in content area”. Drag queens are quite qualified for night club entertainment, but of what possible qualifications can they have for reading to school-aged children other than causing scandal and promoting an agenda within the community. The most recent responses from library staff range from silence to dismissiveness. West Hartford parents and parents from other communities experiencing the same lack of good judgement by local officials should not be afraid to speak up.