You are reading

Council Members Host Drag Queen Story Hour in Jackson Heights, Celebrate Program’s Funding

Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer and Daniel Dromm hosted Drag Queen Hour in Jackson Heights Thursday (Photo: Courtesy of Van Bramer’s office)

July 26, 2019 By Christian Murray

Two elected officials hosted a special Drag Queen Story Hour at the Jackson Heights library Thursday to celebrate the record funding increase for public libraries and the new funds allocated for story hour.

Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer and Daniel Dromm joined New York City-based drag queen Angel Elektra at the 35-51 81st Street library to highlight the City’s 2020 budget that includes nearly $564 million for public libraries, including a $25,000 allocation for Drag Queen Story Hour. Van Bramer and Dromm allocated $5,000 each for story hours in their respective districts.

Drag Queen Story Hour is targeted for children between ages 3 and 8. The program involves a drag queen trained by children’s librarians who reads picture books, sings songs, and leads children in craft activity. The program began in San Francisco in 2015 and spread to New York City in 2016.

“The Queens Public Library is a vital democratic institution where everyone is welcome to learn and explore,” Van Bramer, chair of the Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee, said in a statement. “The funding we secured in this year’s budget will keep our public libraries’ doors open and enable them to expand their diverse programming to reach even more people.”

Van Bramer added, “I am especially proud to support Drag Queens Story Hour, a wonderfully imaginative and inclusive program for kids that encourages acceptance and a love of reading. Drag Queen Story Hour provides all kids with a space to be themselves and to see queer role models—something I desperately needed as a kid.”

Van Bramer and Dromm are both openly gay.

“Libraries are a vital part of every New York City neighborhood,” Dromm said. “I am particularly glad that Drag Queen Story Hour has found a home at city libraries, including the Queens Public Library. Drag Queen Story Hour is a fun and fabulous way of encouraging children to read. The flamboyancy and theatrics of Drag Queen Story Hour truly captures children’s attention and helps facilitate learning.”

The funding will help expand the program, including its bilingual drag queen story hour and those for children with autism and special needs.

“We’re excited to be able to bring more Drag Queens Story Hour programming to Queens Public Library branches this year,” said Rachel Aimee, executive director of the NYC Chapter of Drag Queen Story Hour.

email the author: [email protected]

73 Comments

Giuliani is doing a great service to Sunnyside

It’s nice to see our former mayor has time to give back to the children.

17
5
Reply
#rachelmaddowislovelyandamazing

Jimmy Van Bramer – finding a “great” use for those tax payer dollars!

20
53
Reply
Tommy

There are few better uses of tax payer money then using it to entertain and create a joy and love of reading.

28
13
Reply
Nate

Love the Drag Queen Story Hour but shouldn’t that be a volunteer program? What exactly is the money for? Our public schools deserve that money.

23
33
Reply
Optics

As a lifelong liberal and supporter of drag queens in general: I still don’t really get this.

25
32
Reply
ChiChi

“Gather ’round! It’s storytelling time. There once was an old lady who lived in a shoe. Actually, they were size 13 stiletto high heels. The end.” I’m Gay and I always thought this was a terrible idea to introduce to children so young.

27
38
Reply
Stan

Haha! Remember that episode of South Park where Mr Garrison tries to get fired from his teaching job by acting like a massive gay pervert in front of the kids. But can’t because despite his behavior being totally inappropriate, everyone has been so brainwashed by political correctness and moral relativism that they actually applaud what he’s doing? This kind of crap used to parody and we were told there was no slippery slope. I dread to think what’s next. smh.

33
47
Reply
Nadia

Seriously you can just throw “drag queen story time” in a search engine and you will see results from all kinds of major cities across the US and Canada. I do not mind tax dollars being spent on it. I think an event where a catholic priest would be reading to children/teens is more concerning with what that church has been accused of doing to many children/teens (mostly boys) all these years.

33
15
Reply
Tugboat Sam

How long before Trump and Fox News get hold of this?
This is yet one more present for the GOP. No Amazon center in Queens with all those jobs lost and now this. Roger Ailes is laughing in his grave.

15
38
Reply
Mac

Tugboat- The part Fox News and Trump would hate most about the program is the fact the program creates a joy of reading which in turn helps raise educational standards. The more people know the harder it is to lie to them. Just look at the Fox and Trump base.

36
21
Reply
#youaresotriggered

You are OBSESSED with Fox News. Put down your edition of Pravda, clean the wax out of your ears and learn a new trick. Many Trump supporters are very educated. I have a law degree. Di you even graduate kindergarten?

Reply
BR

To all you progressives: You are ruining our country, our city, our neighborhood.
This is a total disgrace and a waste of our hard earned tax dollars.
To all you people who are sane: It is your fault if you do not turn out and vote
for what is right and productive for our community.

35
64
Reply
Mac

BR- Put yourself into the mix of those ruining our country. Nobody said you needed to attend the show. Your portion of taxes is being used for executing federal inmates, that should make you happy.

42
19
Reply
BR

Mac,
America is becoming great again.
It is your type that is ruining our country.
The show is wasting our tax dollars.
FYI: I am against capital punishment
You are showing your ignorance-typical progressive response.

14
55
Reply
Mac

BR- America was never not great. I am also not a progressive. Did not vote Caban or AOC.,As I said if you don’t like, don’t go to the show. Are you ever tired of being wrong?

35
12
Reply
Rosa

Seriously we could use that money for much needed repairs on 7 line ,its nothing but rusted and needs attention before it falls apart.
Jimmy should entertain his drag queens at his home.
That money could be put to better use. But we know who he really favors and help the most .

41
74
Reply
MARK Woodside

At least put it towards repairs !!!
Better than drag story telling .Really now ,
How about getting rid of the homeless in that shelter on 53 St Quality Inn Hotel.

12
28
Reply
Patsy

I’ll be there !! 2 of my cousins are LONG time pro drag queens . One since 81 and another since the late 70’s ( great days there). I cannot tell you how much money they have raised over the years with their shows for old folks, poor folks , children, homeless , individual people that are sick or need help. They both were involved in raising me and the ONLY family members willing to help me with my kids from babies on up – very grateful. To those bashing- these are female impersonators. My cousins nor anyone in the drag community try to convert anyone, much less a child, that is silly – they are entertainers and work hard to get the looks and personas down (Usually while holding down a full time job).

58
32
Reply
Kayla

Unless you live in a bubble in the middle of BF nowhere, kids are eventually going to see people who look outside of the “norm”. If adults don’t make a big deal out of it, the kids won’t either. They are just accepting until their minds get twisted by prejudice.

80
28
Reply
Tawana

I think drag is another form of blackface. It mocks women. I see no reason that children should be exposed to it and I disagree with it in our public libraries.

63
163
Reply
Carlos

Relax people. Its about story telling! DQ’s about entertainment, bringing joy, creating subcultures, pageantry, and playing with stereotypical norms. I think it’s completely lost anything to do with sexuality or gender identity. I grew up watching Peter Pan being played but a female actor.

38
19
Reply
David

As a father of two young boys I am perfectly fine with sending my children to Drag Queen Story Hour at the library than some priest in a church.

107
54
Reply
Monster Mash

If I were a kid I would not go to the library for reading time . Its looks scary.

47
3
Reply
You are scared, but the children aren't

When 6-year-olds are less easily offended than you, might be time to toughen up.

46
20
Reply
You aren't with the child at night!!

That’s when the monsters come out. Those from Romulus!

3
18
Reply
Julia

To me, the Drag Queen Story Hour, is a diversity event, showing that the library is for everyone. Don’t like it? Don’t attend one with your children (or without). I would wager that there are no DQSHs scheduled in secret, to spring it on an unknowing public. They are HEAVILY promoted, because they are enormously popular. And guess what? Some children don’t even know what a drag queen is. They often think it’s a princess story hour. Which is totally fine. As is the message of being your true self and inclusivity. Learning to navigate the world is hard–and learning to deal with people who are very, very different is a great skill to have.

91
46
Reply
Mama Woodside

How scary is that. Drag story telling at library.
I could use 25k for repairs on my house . I gladly dress up and read to kids for free.

44
90
Reply
John

So you want a government handout for personal gain rather than taxpayer money being used for the taxpayers?

33
9
Reply
Oh lily

This is not my idea of inclusiveness
This is a gimmick meant to propagandize and children should not be exploited this way to score points

47
108
Reply
Nancy

Shakespeare’s plays were all done in drag. I guess people have been doing this stuff since the beginning of time. It’s not harmful to children in any way.

8
22
Reply
Reply to Queer

Queer -Got no intention of going . Money could be put to much more needed use. Thats my opinion.

Reply
Will

Parents take their kids to sit on on the lap of some guy dressed like Santa at the mall for Christmas. Parents take their kids to plays or performances (or watch TV shows) where people are dressed in costume and pretending to be other people. I just don’t see the inherent damage or confusion involved in parents taking their kids to hear story time read by a guy in a dress and a wig. Kids are creative and use their imaginations and play pretend all the time–it’s encouraged. Give them some credit.

56
24
Reply
FOH

Parents take their kids to church to hang out with priests, and just look at how that turned out.

52
19
Reply
Old Lily how are they being explioted?

Looks like they had fun. It’s a shame drag queens hurt your feelings so much.

33
14
Reply
Let's not scare the little kiddies.

I just really wish they’d tone down their make-up. Is this a story hour or a scifi convention?

26
60
Reply
Anonymous

If I was a kid, this would scare the living #%@ out of me. Not to mention, that money could be used in MANY other places throughout this city.

27
48
Reply
VelvetKnight

That’s how you might have reacted. Some kids are scared of clowns. Some kids like being scared (hence the existence of ghost stories).

It’s up to the parents to know their own kids and choose to bring them or not accordingly. Obviously lots of kids are just fine with this, so why let it bother you?

17
7
Reply
The kids don't look like they are flipping out

I guess we can pretend your story is real?

21
6
Reply
Anon E. Mouse

No matter your thoughts on the event, you have to wonder from that picture if they were doing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”

17
Reply
LIC Direct

I’m all for reading and many people volunteer their time for FREE at public libraries throughout the city in childhood reading, literacy programs, ESL, adult literacy, citizenship preparation programs, etc. Why must our tax dollars ($25,000) be spent on this gimmick? Volunteers dedicate their time without any publicity or recognition, Jimmy Van Bramer and Daniel Dromm use our tax dollars and Drag Queens for self-promotion. Using Drag Queens and our tax dollars to Bolster their image for the next election cycle is disgraceful — you turned a good thing into a spectacle and a sideshow for political gain.

72
156
Reply
Arvin

A man wearing makeup and women’s clothing is a man who has a fetish..How is this a “gay role model”? There are people with all kinds of odd fetishes and deviant behaviors..Let children be children and keep your fetishes to yourself

40
60
Reply
Ellen M

Arvin- A man just wearing women’s clothing and makeup does not meet the definition of fetishfet·ish
/ˈfediSH/
Learn to pronounce
noun
1.
a form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked to an abnormal degree to a particular object, item of clothing, part of the body, etc.
“Victorian men developed fetishes focusing on feet, shoes, and boots”
synonyms: fixation, sexual fixation, obsession, compulsion, mania; More
2.
an inanimate object worshiped for its supposed magical powers or because it is considered to be inhabited by a spirit.
synonyms: juju, talisman, charm, amulet; More

11
17
Reply
Arvin

@Ellen..So a father dressed as a woman taking his family out to dinner is your definition of normal?

20
43
Reply
Ellen

Arvin- First of all my post is a response to the misuse of the word “fetish”. Take a remedial reading class. This article and my post are not about a man taking his wife to dinner while wearing women’s clothing. I guess it’s that reading comprehension issue of yours, again. It’s entertainment get a grip already.

24
15
Gardens Watcher

I agree this should be a volunteer program. That said, JVB did secure the funds for this, so it’s not unusual that he would set up a photo op to promote it…even holding that Golden Girls fan.

22
57
Reply
Diane

Well I do not mind and many parents from the area do not either. Its very popular. And BTW I’d rather explain a drag queen to my child than to have to explain hate and homophobia from people like you!

30
20
Reply
Anonymous

Being annoyed over tax dollars being pissed away is not homophobia. Next time you want more funding for public schools think back on this nonsense.

22
31
Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News