Drag queen story hours for young children have been popping up across America over the last few years, but not without controversy. In Houston, for example, drag queen story hour readers have now twice turned out to be child sex offenders.
When a group of Houstonians sought to have the city council cancel drag queen story times, however — an attempt mounted in 2018 — the mayor “pointed out that Drag Queen Storytime is a voluntary program requested by patrons of two libraries that does not use city tax dollars.” A lawsuit brought by the Houston group over the drag queen story hour program was dismissed by a judge in January 2019.
Now the mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, has gone a step further to defend drag queen story hour in her city.
After the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System canceled a drag queen story hour event at one of the branches, Mayor Bottoms issued an invitation to hold the event at City Hall.
Miss Terra Cotta Sugarbaker and all of our LGBTQ friends are always welcome at Atlanta City Hall. How about we host your next story hour? @CityofAtlanta—let’s make it happen! #OneAtlanta ???? https://t.co/gj3eUIRZSC
— Keisha Lance Bottoms (@KeishaBottoms) April 5, 2019
Continuation of the library program is not up to the mayor, apparently. The drag queen in question, Miss Terra Cotta Sugarbaker (Steven Igarashi-Ball), says he was told by the library that the Fulton County authorities had canceled the event.
Igarashi-Ball said his past success at a drag queen story hour in another library branch led to an invitation to read to the children at the Alpharetta branch.
“The community has made it clear that they want the event and the county canceled the event,” he said. …
“I was told that the event was being cancelled by the county and not by the library and they said that it was above the library’s decision,” the drag queen said. “I was told that all of the libraries support the event and wanted it to continue, but that the county had say over them and that the county was cancelling it.”
As the Breitbart account implies, there might still be a question whether Atlanta’s City Hall can or will actually host a drag queen story hour. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, the ACLU could weigh in, as it did in Louisiana late in 2018 when Lafayette Parish’s public library system decided not to host drag queen story hours. The ACLU lawsuit asserted “that the ban violates the First Amendment and infringes on their constitutionally-protected right to free speech”; i.e., the right of the drag queens and those who want their story-hour readings to hold the events in the public library.
Interestingly, the Houstonians opposing drag queen story hour in 2018 expressed a similar concern about the rights of other groups that – unlike drag queens – are not allowed to come to public libraries and read to children.
“My church can’t come to this library across the street and talk to my kids, and I don’t believe that other people should be able to come in there and speak to the children because they’re simply not able to understand everything,” said Charles Warford, speaking to [the Houston] City Council on Tuesday.
Perhaps Miss Terra Cotta Sugarbaker’s performance is relatively non-controversial. That wasn’t the case with the alarmingly-garbed Xochi Mochi, a drag queen who appeared for story hour at the Michelle Obama Public Library in Long Beach, CA in 2017 with a horn-studded head and a Satanic aspect. LU’s Ben Bowles quoted from Xochi Mochi’s Twitter bio:
Attention Earthlings: This is Xochi Mochi your resident killer Klown from outer space. I dress up in drags and love tacos.
Ben noted this at the time:
Except for the part about tacos, it’s hard to think of less appropriate persona to read to toddlers or a less appropriate subject to read to them about.
A few days later, Ben was writing again about drag queen story hour coming to the Brooklyn Public Library, observing that “Asking three- and four-year-olds if they want to ‘grow up to be drag queens’ is a form of indoctrination.”
The question is a pertinent one, in light of another story Howard Portnoy has been following. He wrote in January about a boy, now 10, who has been dressing in drag and performing since the age of eight under the drag name Lactatia. The child was photographed recently in immediate proximity to a naked adult male drag queen, the boy posing with an enthusiastically salacious expression on his young face.
Perhaps this is not the kind of outcome drag queen story readers and their boosters at the public library have in mind. But if they’ve ever spoken out against it, there doesn’t seem to be any record of that.