A block from where that interaction is the home of the original Drag Queen Story Hour, at the Harvey Milk Memorial Public Library/Eureka Branch, a regular event created by the LGBTQA literary non-profit RADAR Productions to bring together two audiences with a natural affinity for one another: Kids and drag queens. (Both love dress-up and exuberance and confounding boring people’s expectations.)
Now, RADAR Productions is working with the Feminist Press and the Brooklyn Public Library to bring this bedazzled event to kids on the other side of the country. “Drag Queen Story Hour breaks down our most stifling ideas about gender while lifting up play, fierceness, and femininity for all,” said Jennifer Baumgardner, the Feminist Press’s publisher.
If there’s one thing little children need, it’s to have their most stifling ideas about gender broken down. That won’t mess with their heads at all. The writer sat for an interview with this particular story-reading drag queen, Lil Miss Hot Mess. More:
“Drag queens and kids are a natural fit, but also transgressive, duh,” she told me. “It’s the final frontier for drag queens! Kids don’t have the baggage of gender; they’re full of excitement around play and glamour. In San Francisco I was doing a shoot for an ice cream store and there was a little girl watching, just staring at me. I was like a princess or a superhero to her. Kids pick up on the extra bit of fantasy. We were introduced and she was so polite. [She said] ‘How do you doooo?’ as if I were the queen. She was clearly looking for the language to talk to me.”
Lil Miss Hot Mess is Jewish:
Lil Miss Hot Mess said that her feelings about Judaism became somewhat conflicted as she became involved in San Francisco’s Occupy movement, protesting Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians. Perhaps, I suggested, her Jewish drag characters were a way to feel more embracing toward her religion. “It’s definitely a way of reconnecting with my Jewish identity,” she allowed.
Because masquerading as a woman is a Jewish thing? I had not heard that.
Perhaps San Francisco and New York can send drag queens as educational missionaries to us in the Deplorable-American community. Many of our children are horribly stifled by our outdated ideas of gender.