New York City Council has spent more than $200,000 on drag queen shows at city schools since 2018, the New York Post reported on Saturday. The shows featured cross-dressing performers interacting with kids as young as three.
The tally includes $50,000 from New York State through its Council on the Arts, along with $157,000 from the city’s Departments of Education, Cultural Affairs, Youth and Community Development, and even the Department of Transportation, city data shows.
Some parents vented their frustrations that they weren’t given an option to opt their children out of these shows. “I can’t believe this. I am shocked,” said public school mom and state Assembly candidate Helen Qiu, whose 11-year-old son attends a Manhattan middle school. “I would be furious if he was exposed without my consent. This is not part of the curriculum.”
“I am considering pulling funding to any school in my district that is implementing Drag Queen Story Hour,” said City Council member Vickie Paladino (R-Queens). “We are taking hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the pockets of hardworking New York taxpayers … to fund a program teaching little children about their gender fluidity? Not. On. My. Watch.”
Cross-dressed performers typically read aloud from a list of books that teach acceptance and inclusion, including children’s classics like “Where the Wild Things Are” and “The Rainbow Fish”, and some that overtly celebrate gender fluidity, like “The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish.”
The expansion of these shows into city schools has brought new features to the program, its social media posts reveal.
In April, drag queen Harmonica Sunbeam wore a slinky gown to meet with kindergarteners at STAR Academy in Manhattan and color pages from “The Dragtivity Book,” which encourages kids to choose their pronouns and invent drag names.
Bella Noche wore a scanty mermaid-like bra getup to travel with 2nd graders from Manhattan’s PS 34 on a May field trip, and Flame taught middle schoolers “of all genders” how to apply drag eye makeup at MS 88 in Park Slope.
Some of the school-related posts disappeared from the Internet Friday, less than an hour after The Post called Drag Story Hour NYC for comment.
In one deleted photo, a performer known as Professor Lionel Longlegs wore a t-shirt emblazoned with the message “I Don’t Want to Look or Be Cis” before an audience of primary-grade kids in the library of PS 191 on the Upper West Side.
The reception has been mixed across the board. Some city parents welcomed the idea of drag-queen visits to school.
“I’m glad to see all types of people included in what students are exposed to and learn in class,” said Kristen Williams, 40, whose 11-year-old daughter attends an East Village middle school.
Storm Neverson, 26, had reservations about her 9- and 6-year-old girls’ exposure to the program at STAR Academy.
“If they were in junior high school or middle school, I would be okay with that because I feel like they would have a little bit more understanding,” Neverson said. “At this time, the kids were just a little too young.”
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