There’s so much to be angry about in the world — Donald Trump is president, there are video games out there perpetuating HIV stigma and Ariana Grande’s “Into You” never reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. But some Philadelphia parents have chosen to have all types of feelings about a couple of drag queens reading to children.
Philadelphia Magazine reports that parents are complaining that two local queens — Britney Lynn and Miss Aurora — will read books to children as part of the increasingly popular Drag Queen Story Hour nationwide phenomenon.
Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum scheduled the storytime as part of its Pride Family Festival, meant to coincide with Philadelphia’s citywide pride celebration during the first weekend in June. Announcements on the museum’s Facebook page about the event have become a breeding ground for some homophobic comments.
“Definitely very inappropriate to subject children of these ages to things like this,” one Facebook user wrote.
However, to combat the anti-drag queen hysteria, several parents have chimed in thanking the museum for its programming.
One of the queens, Miss Aurora, spoke to INTO about the controversy and said she believed the problems stems from an old school “narrow” view of what drag is.
“It used to be something that was reserved for dive bars, nightclubs and the Maury Povich Show,” Miss Aurora told INTO. “If you think that drag queens are reserved only for nightlife I could see how you’d think it’s inappropriate for children. But drag queens are people, we had childhoods too.”
She also thanked parents for stepping in and combating the hate so she wouldn’t have to.
“It’s nice I didn’t have to personally go in and defend my right to be at this event,” Aurora said. “It’s not that surprising that people were upset. Any time that people can get upset, they will get upset.”
Britney Lynn told Philadelphia that the books they plan to read to the children include anti-bullying books like The Pout-Pout Fish and the Bully-Bully Shark and the award-winning LGBTQ book This Day in June, which is an age-appropriate book about pride celebrations.
Please Touch Museum CEO Trish Wellenbach said the story hour is just like other cultural celebrations, including St. Patrick’s Day and or Eid al-Fitr.
“It’s a parent’s decision whether to expose their children to this,” Wellenbach said. “But we spend a lot of time thinking about our responsibility to the community and to creating purposeful and important experiences. There is no wavering on that. This is our new normal.”