Drag Queen Storytime Children’s Event Coming to Libraries in Mississauga

 

The annual Pride Parade might be over, but Pride month is not—and that means you can still indulge in some unique Pride-themed events in Mississauga and surrounding cities.

If you have young children and want to teach them a little bit more about inclusivity, you might be happy to hear that Family Storytime with a Drag Queen is coming to the Central and Port Credit Libraries this Saturday, June 29. 

The Port Credit Library event will kick off at 11:00 a.m. and the Central Library event will begin at 2:00 p.m. 

The event will feature a book reading and performance by local queen Theo Rose (better known as Atmos Fierce). 

Atmos Fierce has performed in Mississauga before, having entertained children and their families at the Malton and Streetsville libraries on June 15.

Fierce has also participated on drag queen storytime events in Toronto and Bradford, Ont. 

While the idea of a drag queen storytime event might sound unusual to the uninitiated, such appearances have been picking up steam for some time now. 

Over the past few years, drag queen storytime events have been gaining traction in libraries in Toronto and other major cities. For those who have never heard of the growing trend, you’ve been missing out.

In June 2017, even the iconic Royal Ontario Museum became one such North American venue to host Drag Queen Story Time.

According to NOW Magazine, the initiative came to Toronto about two years ago when Fay Slift and Fluffy Souffle (who recently performed at the Art Gallery of Mississauga) got wind of the inaugural Drag Queen Story Hour in San Francisco.

The events, it seems, are finally starting to trend in the 905. 

Dress up in your most fabulous outfit and Join us for stories, songs and fun for everyone,” Mississauga Library Services wrote on Twitter. 

But while many people support the initiative, others have criticized libraries for inviting the performers to family events. 

What are we teaching children with this? Honest question,” a user named joshsthirdeye asked on the Mississauga Library’s Instagram page. 

The library says the events encourage inclusivity and work to combat gender stereotypes. 

The library is a place that welcomes everyone. This inclusive program, that includes reading stories and music, celebrates diversity, breaks gender stereotypes and promotes the library as a safe space for everyone. It allows us to break down barriers for the LGBTQ community members who are marginalized and mostly underrepresented in library programs. Many libraries around the world and across Ontario have hosted Drag queen storytimes as a fun way to entertain and educate everyone about acceptance and inclusion,” the library responded. 

While others argued that the performances are unacceptable because drag shows are typically associated with fetish-based communities (which is absurd to suggest at a time when RuPaul’s Drag Race is one of the most popular reality TV shows on the air and when most people understand that library shows are G-rated and acceptable for viewers of all ages), others said that the events create a better sense of community.

Most importantly, some parents say that the kids simply love them. 

She read us a fantastic selection of books all about building inclusivity. The kids loved it, and I hope the message to not judge others simply based on how they look or who they love stays with them,” user liliibarker wrote on Instagram. 

Whatever way you choose to interpret performances like this is your own. But colourful characters are a staple of childrens programming and as counterintuitive as it may seem to you, drag lends itself well to the format. Sesame Street is literally filled with singing, dancing circus clowns. Everyone loves it for the fun and the learning. No one is wondering why Elmo isn’t wearing pants.”

Will you be checking out the events this long weekend?

Cover photo courtesy of atmos.fierce’s official Instagram account

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