A photograph shows a miniskirt-wearing Drag Queen Story Hour performer with an exposed crotch as children sit close by, according to a writer who attended the event earlier this month at Ridgedale Library in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and took the photo.
Anne Taylor noted in her Caffeinated Thoughts piece that about 22 children — ranging in age from infant to toddler, preschooler, and elementary schooler — were in attendance, along with adults.
Taylor said performer Sasha Sota — who wore a pink miniskirt, spiked heels, and a shirt with an exposed midriff — "strode in suggestively past the children, sitting down in a chair before several preschool-aged girls with his legs spread wide, exposing his nylon-covered crotch in front of children sitting at eye level. We noticed that he did this often while reading nervously before the children."
Image source: Anne Taylor (used by permission)
Taylor noted that the librarian hosting the event reminded the adults that they are role models for the children and that “if anyone gets upset — even grownups — you can leave."
She added that afterward Sasha Sota approached her and thanked her for attending:
He quickly sat down next to me on a stool. So I inquired how he got started in drag. He told me he loved theatre, and this is merely a way for him to stay connected. I asked, “All the time?" He responded, “Oh, Yes! I'm in college studying theatre." Taking note of how he nervously kept flipping back his wig, I inquired what he thought of children. He quickly responded, “Oh! I love children!"
I will point out that not all Drag Queens are pedophiles or convicted sex offenders. Being in theatre during my college years, I noticed that dressing in drag was viewed as an easy out where one could justify these individuals are merely "practicing their craft." What you don't see behind the act and the makeup is very dark: self-abuse, drugs, alcohol, and a lot of sex. That IS the nature of the drag community, period.
What did the library have to say?
TheBlaze on Tuesday reached out to Hennepin County Library for comment on the Oct. 17 event. Here's the library's full statement:
Storytime Together with Drag Performers is a relatively new program in the Hennepin County Library system and elsewhere. Drag performers historically were leaders in the fight for equality — including them in LGBT History Month observances is meant to both honor the history and provide a welcoming space for families who may not otherwise see themselves reflected in our public places.
We are all still learning — and unfortunately making mistakes. Most storytime performances involve a performer in brilliantly colored costume and theatrical makeup. They read books and share songs about characters who are different in some way, and who learn to accept and celebrate differences in themselves and others.
Every performance is different. That allows for a new show every day, but also introduces the possibility of new mistakes.
Partway through this year's schedule, we realized the need for a performer dress code. We followed up right away with each of the performers to ensure that their costumes are appropriate for the audience and activity.
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, especially from LGBT families. As we continue to be both innovative and inclusive, we are committed to also be good stewards of our public spaces.
Here's another image from the event showing performer Gemini Valentine:
Image source: Bonnie Gasper (used by permission)
Child Protection League Action posted several images of the event on its Facebook page, and many commenters weren't pleased.
"This is what our tax dollars are going for," one commenter said. "I see nothing wrong with drag in the appropriate venue for adults, but is this necessary? Come on people it is getting ridiculous!"