Drag Queen Story Time
LizzyStrata · 13/06/2022 10:33
First time posting here, so not sure of the etiquette. My apologies if this is the wrong place to raise these concerns.
Reading Borough Council is planning to hold Drag Queen Story Hour events in our libraries during the summer holidays. I’ve written to my MP, my councillors, and the Head of the Library Service to raise concerns. I think drag is entirely inappropriate for children, as it is a form of adult entertainment, highly sexualised and misogynistic, that blurs boundaries and undermines safeguarding.
The response Ive had is simply that they have received very few complaints so no reason to cancel.
Has anyone had any experience of tackling their local library over this issue? Grateful for any tips.
Also, if you live in Berkshire ,would you be willing to write and share your concerns?
Clangyleg · 13/06/2022 10:49
Tried to complain in Leeds. And escalated, but received long wordy emails justifying it all on inclusivity grounds. And think it went ahead anyway but at a later date. If you have the name of the performer plus other sm stuff you can point the the inappropriateness .
achillestoes · 13/06/2022 11:19
Not so far where I live. It’s something I would be very uncomfortable with and nothing to do with inclusivity (drag queens are not a social group - they’re just men who perform an often sexualised and sometimes comic version of femininity) and I’d never take my kids anywhere near it, but I probably wouldn’t try to get it cancelled unless I had specific safeguarding concerns.
AngelicaElizaAndPeggy · 13/06/2022 11:25
I would just let people vote with their feet OP. Do parents honestly see this as a positive choice for a day out? Not sure I would take mine - if its a panto Dame vibe, then maybe. But I think it would depend on the Queen and what they talk about.
Actually, that involves too muchproor research, faff and worry on my part. I think we'd just go to the park or somewhere else where I don't have to weigh up the risk of whether sexualised or mysoginistic content will be involved.
Boadicea2 · 13/06/2022 11:26
LizzyStrata I'm in Berkshire - on Reading/Wokingham border - and I've been meaning to complain about this. You've given me the push I needed.
mrshoho · 13/06/2022 11:46
I'm not in Berkshire but I agree with your concerns. My children are older now but I remember trying to fill the long school holidays with fun activities on a budget. The local library was a frequent event as they weekly storytime and crafts that were free and child friendly. I can't help but feel this is a cynical move to expose young children to gender ideology. What book's will be read? From the photos on their site I wonder if young children would be confused and scared with heavily made up faces and costumes. It's one thing going to a pantomime seeing loud, larger than life characters on stage but, but I can't see how this is a good idea in a library.
Hagiography · 13/06/2022 11:54
they have received very few complaints so no reason to cancel.
What is the number of women that matters? At what point does anyone listen to women/mothers? How many complaints does it take?
LizzyStrata · 13/06/2022 13:41
Thanks! The more complaints they receive, the more likely they are to rethink. If you’ve got friends who think similarly, spread the word!
LizzyStrata · 13/06/2022 13:42
I’ve highlighted safeguarding concerns & problems that I think exist with DQSH safeguarding policy. But clearly the number of complaints is more important to them 🤬
LizzyStrata · 13/06/2022 13:49
Yes, I remember those long summer holidays 😬
I agree with all your points. I think it’s unwise to blur boundaries for young children about male/female, sex & sexuality. By normalising drag, I think we run the risk of opening doors to gender ideology in a much wider way. It’ll be harder to question Drag Queens, Mermaids & gender woo in schools & workplaces if we’ve already welcomed it into our libraries.
If a man approached the library asking to be allowed to read to children he didn’t know, maybe sit some on his knee, blow them a kiss, joke around with them & hand out treats, we’d never think that was a good idea. Why is it ok if the man puts on a wig & a dress?
Hagiography · 13/06/2022 14:52
Maybe ask if there will be a catwalk, twerking, underwear on show, if kids will be asked to dance for money, etc.
Could also ask if 'queens' will be subject to any safeguarding checks.
mrshoho · 13/06/2022 14:52
This DQSH keeps plugging away despite controversy and being cancelled in various locations over the last few years. So it is important to raise concerns as unless parents speak up and complain, these shows will go ahead.
Gobbolinothekitchencat · 13/06/2022 14:54
There was a thread on challenging this last month and I particularly like a post by a poster who gave a very considered way to frame a complaint. The focus was more on the incompatibility of drag as an art-form medium and the target audience of primary/ infants. There was a bit more to it but it really highlighted how it was such an Ill-thought choice for a children’s library. It’s not like making Shakespeare or Greek tragedy appeal to primary school children which is what a lot of people might think 🤔 or fun like a pantomime. I really need to contact my local library service (am on the tour circuit for this summer season too) but am worried might scupper any chances of working for them in the future.
Hagiography · 13/06/2022 14:57
Apologies, I don't know what that video with the two men is - I meant to link this one:
Which is just a film of the draq queen showing children how to twerk.
VestofAbsurdity · 13/06/2022 15:03
Perhaps you could also ask them if they have ever hosted a story time where a disabled or BAME person read the stories? Why the fuck do councils think DQSH is acceptable? What diversity/protected characteristic is this highlighting? It's just men misogynistically and offensively parodying women.
mrshoho · 13/06/2022 15:21
We understand safety, so as standard all performers on our team will hold at a minimum a valid Basic DBS check. Not only are our DBS checks performed regularly, we train all our story-tellers in child to performer interaction, inclusivity training for audience members who may have physical or mental disabilities, and how to answer FAQ by children. See the full Policy here -> file download
This is on the website for Drag Queen Story Hour. A basic DBS check? Shouldn't it be an enhanced full DBS check in view of the involvement of working with children? I take it they are not left alone with children but they will be in close proximity in an intimate space. They are projecting to young children and background checks should be beyond scrutiny.
MenopausalMe · 13/06/2022 16:25
There’s a few photos of the person who does dqsh in a ‘state of arousal’ during these events. Very obvious in their costume and yet every venue seems to ignore it I can’t fathom why who am i kidding, we all know why
sunflowersandtomatoes · 13/06/2022 16:29
OP, I’m in Berkshire and I’d like to write too. Can you share what address you used, and any name you might have?
Hagiography · 13/06/2022 16:46
Mental disabilities? Not heard that term used in a very long time.
Hagiography · 13/06/2022 16:48
That the one named after ADHD?
Hagiography · 13/06/2022 17:00
The summer tour seems to be covering very many libraries.:
For what it's worth, I think this performer is just misguided, ill-informed about safeguarding and politically promulgates some highly questionable dogma mixed in with bright & cheerful memes about love and acceptance.
I know others have other views, particularly on some of the costumes and the name choice.
LizzyStrata · 13/06/2022 17:20
I downloaded their policy & it seems to me there are quite a few holes in it. Emailed my ward councillor about this but her reply was simply that they hadn’t had many complaints & that children find twerking amusing! 🤬
C4tintherug · 13/06/2022 17:23
I’m in berks and I saw someone raised concerns on a local fb group. They were pretty much shouted down, called a transphobe, told to deal with it etc. They had posted anonymously but got called every name under the sun and also a coward for not using their name!
LizzyStrata · 13/06/2022 17:27
I sent emails to my MP (who told me it was a matter for the local council)
I emailed my ward councillors who told me they hadn’t had many complaints
i emailed the head of Reading’s library service His address is [email protected]
He hadn’t replied yet & I’ve emailed to nudge him
i also registered a complaint on the official RBC form via their website as all complaints have to be logged & responded to in a certain time if they’re made online. No reply yet
Next step, Children’s Commissioner and local safeguarding board
LizzyStrata · 13/06/2022 17:29
I steer clear of FB . Mostly use it for posting holiday snaps & other trivia. If you’re Berkshire & you have concerns, please can I encourage you to let your councillors know and whoever runs your library service?
Hagiography · 13/06/2022 17:31
It doesn't really matter whether children find twerking 'amusing'. Children will have all sorts of responses to sexually inappropriate behaviour from adults; this doesn't mean pole-dancing, twerking, stripteases or grinding are things that they should be exposed to.
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