If you’ve been on social media at all over the last few weeks, then you may have seen some of the latest controversy over a program that sends drag queens into schools and libraries. The program was started in 2015 in an effort to, “inspire a love of reading, while teaching deeper lessons on diversity, self-love and an appreciation of others.” Some folks were outraged when they found out that taxpayer money was being used to fund the city contracts for the storytimes to take place at schools, libraries and street festivals.
But the outrage over these storytimes have gone further than just angry tweets— they’ve gone as far as protests at events and hate mail to the drag queens themselves. Just as one drag queen who goes by the name Lil Miss Hot Mess said when addressing a group that showed up to a story hour to harass and threaten organizers, “disruptions like this are both terrifying and terrorizing — traumatizing the very children that vigilantes claim to protect.”
So what exactly is the problem for some folks? Councilwoman Vickie Paladino of District 19 in Queens said, “Progressives may have no problem with child grooming and sexualization, but I do. This will not happen on my watch. Kids deserve a quality education free from political manipulation and sexual content.” While some agree and want to see the story hour nixxed from public schools, supporters of the program want to see Paladino removed from her seat. The New York City Council LGBTQIA+ Caucus is calling for Paladino to be removed from the committee and censured for her comments.