Drag queen story hour is a phenomenon that has hit us since its first branch
opening within San Francisco in 2015. After spreading around the US, and then
globally across the world more and more controversy has presented itself around
The left claims that these events promote ideas of diversity and tolerance in
children’s minds. Whereas the right believes these events sexualise children.
In this video, I’m going to explore whether the claims of the right wing are
true. And in my attempt I’m going to do my best to remain neutral and fair to
both sides in answering the question: Are these events sexualising children?
This is a difficult question to answer.
In order to understand what impact these events are having on our children and
wider society, we have to look at Drag Queen Story Hour from two levels of
The first level of interpretation we need to investigate, which we are looking
at in this video is ‘does the philosophy behind these events promote the
sexualisation of children?’.
And the second layer of interpretation we need to investigate, which we will be
looking at in a future video is ‘do the actions taken in these events sexualise
Before we take a look at the philosophy behind drag queen story hour, please hit
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Depending on what you define as a drag queen, you can actually follow this
unique entertainment form as far back as the days of Shakespeare where women
were not allowed to be actors and thus, men had to take on the roles.
After all, diversity is a strength and without female characters in a play it
just wouldn’t be quite as good. As we easily proved with the release of the all
female Ghost Busters.
The drag queen of the modern era wasn’t actually established until the mid to
late 1900s. Until then, men dressing up in female clothing inside of European
nations and America was confined to plays in the entertainment industry.
To capture what a modern day drag queen is, it can be expressed like this: “A
drag queen is usually a homosexual male who exaggerates female gender signifies
and gender roles through feminine clothing, makeup and actions.”
It’s actually really hard to draw the line of whether drag queens are inherently
sexual. Because the reality is, there are countless videos and other resources
that show individual drag performances being highly sexual.
But even though many performances are explicitly sexual, there are also
countless that aren’t.
To explain my point, simply because some movies contain sexual elements, that
doesn’t mean movies in themselves are inherently sexual right?
The real question we have to ask is, can you be implicitly sexual and if so, how
does that occur?
The purpose of being attractive is to increase your desirability. Hence, it
could be argued that any attempt to increase your attractiveness could be
interpreted as a form of sexualisation. But the difficult thing is, where do we
draw the line between acceptable forms of making yourself look good and being
inappropriate for children.
The largest argument I hear against Drag Queen Story Hour is that drag queens
are inherently sexual, and therefore any performance at these events sexualise
children. In practice, this may be true and we will look at that within another
video. But simply saying any drag queen around children automatically encourages
sexualisation might be a stretch.
I’m not saying this isn’t true, what I am saying is a very difficult case to
make since you would have to argue that every form of makeup or clothing used by
drag queens will always be inherently sexual or attractive, and that I don’t
think that is the case. I have seen some pretty ugly looking drag queens who
make themselves look worse through makeup and clothing.
And because not every drag queen in every performance uses makeup or clothing to
attempt to be attractive I would have to say that drag in itself is not
inherently sexual. However, that isn’t to say on a practical lesson this isn’t
happening. But again, we will get into that within another video.
Like me you probably feel in your heart that drag queens intrinsically have a
negative impact on children. And you would be right, but it’s not sexualisation.
There is an abundance of evidence to suggest that Drag Queen Story Hour and drag
queens themselves have an agenda to attack gender and break down traditional
For example, This has even been recognized at university level where Stephen
Schacht who was a professor at Plattsburgh University published in the Journal
of Homosexuality Volume 46 in 2004, saying “Like much of the general public, the vast majority of my students strongly hold dichotomous, essentialist outlooks about what the categories female and male/gay and straight are supposed to represent and be. One way that I have found to challenge these oppressive worldviews, and also to queer my classes in the process, is to take my course participants to drag shows and/or to use videotapes of drag queens and drag kings in my classes.”
Nina West, who was a Drag race season 11 contestant and winner of Miss
Congeniality and producer of Drag is Magic EP stated “Children are inundated
with implicit imagery from media about what is ‘boy’ and what is ‘girl.’ And I
believe that almost all kids are really less concerned about playing with a toy
that’s supposedly aligned to their gender, and more concerned with playing with
toys that speak to them.”
After this autistic child was inspired and began to imitate drag queens on
RuPaul’s Drag Race and becoming a drag kid himself, Desmond Napoles, otherwise
known as Desmond is Amazing identifies as gender fluid.
This drag queen story hour reader in Wellington New Zealand wrote in one article
“Why not let them play with gender identity as we let them play with whatever
superheroes Hollywood has imprinted on their minds this movie season?”
And even the Drag Queen Story Hour website under their FAQ page says “Our agenda
is simple: we believe that people of all ages should be free to express
themselves however they want, free from the constraints of prescribed gender
roles. In other words, there’s no such thing as “girl clothes” and “boy
clothes,” or “girl toys” and “boy toys.” DQSH teaches children that there are
many ways to express themselves and their gender, and they are all OK.”
It’s a reality that men dressing up as females, or females as males
intrinsically degenerates the idea of gender and traditional roles.
That’s the real intrinsic problem with drag queen story hour. It’s stated goal
is to destroy the idea of gender roles. And they’re doing it with very young
Our society is highly complex and relies on various balancing forces in order
for it to work. Gender roles seem to be one of the large forces providing us as
humans with responsibilities to rise toward and gives us all a sense of duty
toward our society. Dismantling the delicate framework of our nations will lead
to more of the pain we already see.
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