What is your view about drag queens? The founders of this project are saying that they’re trying to “groom the next generation.”
Drag queen started as a folk tradition. Men would dress up as women and imitate their behaviors in plays or performances.
Though it started as a folk custom, the drag queen is growing as a form of expression. Drag is a situation where a person indulges in cross-dressing, especially when a man dresses like a lady.
Most men become drag queens for performance purposes. But some would do it for fun or to make them feel happy.
Although it’s a new story-telling activity, it’s facing opposition from most civilized individuals. Many people appreciate it, but some are claiming that it’s breaking the common understanding of gender.
In the US, there’s a group called “Bible Belt,” which is trying to change this negative notion about drag queens.
This troupe is called Drag Queen Story Hour or DQSH. Just like the name suggests, it’s an art of reading stories to kids in school, libraries, and bookstores.
The DQSH captures the play and imagination of gender’s mutability. And it aims at giving children positive and glamorous queer role models.
At these events, children get to see actors defying the rigid gender restrictions. This creates an image in kids’ minds where people can present or behave as they wish. Drag queens dress up as ladies in real life.
These events were started by Michele Tea in collaboration with non-profit RADAR productions. It began in San Francisco in 2015. Since then, it has been spreading to other cities in the US and across the globe.
According to DQSH co-founder Jonathan Hamilt, they have chapters in Indiana, Nebraska, and Alabama.
Mr. Hamilt also said that the events are facing more protests, especially in rural areas. He reported that people in these regions tend to be “more conservative.”
The founders of this project also said they’re producing more than a hundred chapters every year. They are also providing training, support, and resources to grow and improve their DQSH Chapters.
In some DQSH events, police officials have to provide security at the venues because protests have become common. Protesters carry anti-LGTB+ sayings and signs with hateful slogans.
Hamilt also said in a BBC interview that despite the protests and opposition from some people, DQSH chapters continue to grow. He noted that some individuals are only expressing their fears with anger.
One of the frequent DQSH attendees in South Carolina, Rylee Hunty, said that only the adults were terrified by their costumes and events. She confirmed that the room she was performing had 5 drag queens, and not a single kid said to them, “You’re weird.” She also affirmed that their context fits in the kids’ fantasy, which is a good thing.
Rylee said that if she had such an experience while schooling, she would have had a happy life. She wouldn’t have faced confusion, sadness, and anxieties.
Many parents, such as Amanda Garett are appreciating DQSH’s creative performances. She says that she could even encourage her son to take such a role if he wants to. She said It’s good to let people be who they desire to be.