Drag queens in the United Kingdom are visiting schools, libraries, and government-subsidized nurseries to educate and interact with young children through storytelling and song-sharing.
According to the Daily Mail, children as young as 2 years old are being targeted with Drag Queen Story Time's programs in hopes that young intervention will foster greater understanding and acceptance of the LGBTQ community, as well as a reduction in hate crimes perpetrated against those within the community.
What do the drag queens do?
The program, which is comprised of a group of drag queens, also tells a story about a teddy bear who realizes that it's a girl and not a boy.
One song in particular is an adapted version of "The Wheels on the Bus" and boasts lyrics such as "the skirt on the drag queen goes swish, swish, swish."
Other notable programs have included a "Halloween drag disco" and a high tea.
How did the program begin?
The classes are held by 26-year-old Bristol University law graduate Thomas Canham, who has hopes that the program will be implemented in all nurseries funded by the London Early Years Foundation.
Canham said he found inspiration for the program through a similar program in the U.S., the Drag Queen Story Hour.
The American counterpart in October read books to children at Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library in Long Beach, California.
What are those in the group saying about it?
Canham — who dismisses traditional notions of masculinity as "meaningless" — told the Daily Mail that "racism, homophobia, misogyny and the like are all learnt behaviors."
"We aren’t born with any form of hatred," he explained. "You get taught it over time."
While discussing the people performing in the program, Canham said, "It makes perfect sense. They’re performers, larger than life! It is exactly what children want."
"We're not trying to pitch narratives," Canham explained when asked if the children were too young to be subjected to such a concept, "just introducing the concept of it existing."
June O'Sullivan, the foundation's chief executive, said, "By providing spaces in which children can see people who defy rigid gender restrictions, it allows them to imagine the world in which people can present themselves as they wish."
According to the organization's website, the group aims to "capture the imagination and fun of the gender fluidity of childhood while giving children a glamorous, positive unabashedly queer role model."
Embrace difference. pic.twitter.com/HY7IgdpV2j
— BBC Three (@bbcthree) November 11, 2017