Politicians Propose Banning Kids from Drag Queen Shows and Story Hours – So Here Are 14 Kids’ Books Celebrating Drag


Politicians in at least two states have proposed bans on minors attending drag shows, including all-ages shows and Drag Queen Story Hours. Hear what drag queen and children’s author Lil Miss Hot Mess and others have to say about this—and learn more about her books and many more celebrating kids and drag!

Drag queen kids' books

Anti-drag rhetoric has escalated recently amidst a wave of other anti-LGBTQ legislation. LGBTQ media advocacy group GLAAD, LGBTQ literacy organization Drag Queen Story Hour, and South Florida advocacy organization Transinclusive Group, released a statement today noting that:

  • In a May 27 letter and press release regarding a Pride month event at a U.S. Air Force base in Germany, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio inaccurately referred to drag queen story hours as “sexually charged content.” The event was canceled in response.
  • Last week, after protesters flung slurs outside an all-ages fundraiser for an LGBTQ youth organization at a Dallas gay bar, Texas Rep. Bryan Slaton announced he planned to introduce legislation banning minors from drag shows.
  • On Monday, threats of violence led to the cancellation of a Drag Queen Story Hour at a Pride festival in North Carolina. The event was reinstated on Thursday after Equality North Carolina stepped in.
  • Also on Monday, Florida Rep. Anthony Sabatini proposed legislation that would charge parents with a felony and strip them of custody if they allowed their children to attend a drag show or reading.
  • On Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a press conference that he would explore using existing child protective statutes to fast-track a ban on minors at drag performances.

GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis (and also a lesbian mom), said, “Real threats to children include gun violence in school and baseless legislation that bans lifesaving healthcare. One in four LGBTQ teens attempted suicide last year. Let’s focus on actual problems facing students, and hold lawmakers accountable to keeping all kids safe from real harm.”

Drag Queen Story Hour said:

Drag Queen Story Hour could not be more disappointed in disingenuous politicians who are trying to score points by attacking programs like ours, which use drag as a traditional art form to promote literacy, teach about LGBTQ lives, and activate children’s imaginations. Let’s be clear: DQSH provides age-appropriate programming, and we routinely receive praise from parents and educators who are delighted that we offer children safe spaces to express themselves and support one another…. Any attempt to criminalize our work is rooted in tired homophobic and transphobic hate and misinformation, and we refuse to give in to politicians who are too bigoted and boring to comprehend our vision for a world in which every child can be safe fully expressing who they are.

And Tatiana Williams, Executive Director of Transinclusive Group, said:

These continued attacks and this latest attempt to criminalize drag shows when kids are around speaks to how when some people think about our LGBTQ+ community, they can only perceive us through this lens of fear and negativity as they try to fit us into this box and view us as this “other.” Drag is here and it has always been here as a part of our community. Banning drag shows out of a misguided fear that some youth might find a sense of connection with the LGBTQ+ community would be an invasion of parents’ rights to raise their children and support them as their authentic selves.

Williams’ remarks flip the strategy of the right-wing movement for “parents’ rights” that has tried to ban LGBTQ content in schools under the guise of parents’ right to control their children’s education.

Drag Queen Story Hour board member and children’s book author Lil Miss Hot Mess, who was specifically targeted in Rubio’s press release, tweeted that Rubio’s comment was “an attack…on the lives of LGBTQ+ people.” In a video interview with GLAAD before Rubio’s remarks, she observed, “I think that kids take so much out of [Drag Queen Story Hours]. I think that they see drag queens as role models who get to play dress-up for a living, get to exercise creativity and our imaginations.” Drag queens are also more than just entertainers, she noted, adding, “We are active in our communities. We have long histories of raising money for causes that we believe in, for leading protests and parades.”

Watch her full video below, and check out my reviews of these 14 picture books and middle-grade titles about drag, with kid drag queens, kids whose parents and teachers are drag queens, and kids simply participating in the fun that drag has to offer!


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