Concerned parent calls Des Moines Library’s drag queen event ‘woman-face’

Jun 5, 2019, 5:05 AM

King County Libraries...

The Des Moines branch of the King County Library System. (KCLS)


Local parent Lynn Meagher was shocked to find “Drag Queen Story Hour” in the schedule for her branch of the King County Library System, the Des Moines Library.

Drag Queen Story Hour takes place in June at the libraries to coincide with Pride Month, according to KCLS. Audiences at the event have numbered as high as 100.

Family program, all ages welcome. What do drag queens and children have in common? They love dressing up and all things sparkly and fancy! Join special guest Cookie Couture for a fun-filled hour of stories, songs and photos.

Sarah Thomas, KCLS public relations specialist, said that the event is meant to “encourage self-acceptance, discourage bullying, and celebrate getting together to read,” as well as to promote the library system’s goal of “championing the ideals of tolerance, diversity, and inclusion.”

Dori responds to criticism over ‘Drag Queen Story Time’ debate

But Meagher found the library’s description of the event lacking in truth.

“To characterize drag queens as just fun, sparkly, nice people to be around is rather deceptive,” she said.

When Meagher looked up Cookie Couture and the other drag queens picked by KCLS on Instagram, she said that the characters she found were a far cry from the library’s event and “nothing even close to innocent.”

“Cookie has pictures, for instance, where she is down on all fours with breasts the size of watermelons hanging out,” Meagher described.

Other photos include the drag queen posing in explicit positions and drinking from a container shaped like male genitalia, Meagher added.

Meagher has nothing against the drag queen community performing for adults, but she does not want her tax dollars to support an erotic entertainer being introduced to young children.

“We have no problem with adults, individuals, performing drag in drag clubs where adults choose to go and watch that form of entertainment,” she said. “That’s their right.”

Children, she said, are tech savvy, and might go home to look up their new drag queen friend online, only to stumble upon the racy photos.

Thomas said that the drag queens and drag kings chosen for the event go through training beforehand with librarians, so there should be nothing of any inappropriate nature occurring during story time.

That said, they publicize the event well ahead of time so that families can choose whether or not to go to the library during that hour.

“We recognize that different families have different standards,” she said. “We trust that parents and caregivers can make the best decisions for their families based on their values.”

Meagher’s concerns do not just have to do with the X-rated aspects of drag, however. She also finds drag queens offensive and belittling to women. Similar to blackface, drag could be called “woman-face,” she contends; just like blackface, it involves taking a group that has been traditionally oppressed and reducing that group to a costume, based on negative stereotypes, to be tried on at will for entertainment.

“This is males dressing up like women and then characterizing them in very offensive ways — hyper-sexualized, unintelligent,” she said. “We don’t do blackface anymore because it is so offensive, but this really is the same thing — this is portraying women in ways that are beyond humiliating. And we are offended.”

Meagher created an event to protest the Des Moines Library’s choice next Saturday, June 15. She is also circulating a petition asking King County taxpayers to pledge that they will not approve a library levy until Drag Queen Story Time is stopped.

“When you’re indoctrinating children into this kind of stuff, you’re changing the world, and not in a good way,” she said.

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Concerned parent calls Des Moines Library’s drag queen event ‘woman-face’