The New York City city council has increased funding for city libraries by a record amount and thousands of dollars will go into drag queen story hour events. The city’s 2020 budget includes almost $564 million for public libraries.
Council members Jimmy Van Bramer and Daniel Dromm celebrated the news with drag queen Angel Elektra at a Jackson Heights location. Both men are gay.
Drag queens read standard age-appropriate books like Old MacDonald Had a Truck or Goodnight Moon to children during the events. Some of the books, like And Tango Makes Three or Prince & Knight include LGBTQ characters.
The popular literacy program has swept the nation and become a rallying cry for the religious right who have deemed in “sinful” and claim it will turn children transgender. They also charge that the queens are “indoctrinating” kids by reading them LGBTQ-themed books.
“I am especially proud to support Drag Queens Story Hour, a wonderfully imaginative and inclusive program for kids that encourages acceptance and a love of reading,” Van Bramer said. “Drag Queen Story Hour provides all kids with a space to be themselves and to see queer role models—something I desperately needed as a kid.”
“Libraries are a vital part of every New York City neighborhood,” Dromm said. “I am particularly glad that Drag Queen Story Hour has found a home at city libraries, including the Queens Public Library. Drag Queen Story Hour is a fun and fabulous way of encouraging children to read. The flamboyancy and theatrics of Drag Queen Story Hour truly captures children’s attention and helps facilitate learning.”
The money will be used to expand the program to include bilingual programming and events for children with autism or other special needs.