Ok, I admit I don’t get it. I don’t have kids so I never did the story time thing.
I’m in the camp of: If you’re ok taking your kids to drag story time, go ahead. If you’re not, don’t go. But you don’t get to tell other parents they can’t.
What I struggle to understand is the appeal of someone wanting to read a story to kids while in drag. I also struggle to understand the appeal of hearing a story read by someone in drag. I’m happy to admit that if I experienced it, I might get it. My husband suggested that folks that engage in drag (from what I’ve seen on TV and the few I’ve encountered in real life) are big personalities and good performers which would likely make for good storytelling. So, that makes sense.
Perhaps it’s inspiring to children to see someone living their life as the person they want to be without fear of being judged or shamed for being different, as well as demonstrating that people who look different on the outside aren’t gross or scary or evil, they’re just people the same as everyone else.
I get that. But I would think that would be more apt for a crowd a bit older than the storytime crowd. I would guess the storytime crowd is in the 3, 4, 5, 6 years old and they generally see people as people anyway. At 6, 7, 8, and older they can be taught more about acceptance of people that are different.
But, hey, like I said, I don’t have kids so my thoughts on that may be all wrong. But I accept your explanation as a good reason for it. It makes sense.
I don’t think that’s a lesson that kids that age, or even a bit older, need to be taught. They are naturally very accepting. As far as I can see, Drag Queen Story Hour is simply bringing the pantomime dame tradition to the US. Kids have always loved, and responded well to, pantomime dames.
I think this is more about the drag queens, to be honest. They are performers; drag is a performance; story hour is a performance opportunity before an audience that is (a) novel; (b) pretty demanding; but (c) accepting. They are validated as artistes, and for what their performance signifies, if it is received and enjoyed by this audience.
If you have your kids interact with all sorts of different people at 3, 4, 5, and 6 years of age then when they’re 6, 7, and 8 you won’t have to teach them people are people because they’ll already know that based on their own experiences.
There is a huge performance aspect to drag, which as you note can make them good storytellers. It’s actually not any different than have someone dressed as a clown or an elf or robin hood tell a story to your kids. The reader is a person in a costume assuming a role.
Frankly, as a young child I was terrified of clowns. I’d probably would have found a man dressed as a woman much less frightening.
Your kids will just grow up knowing that people come in all colors, shapes, sizes, etc… and that they should be treated equally and respectfully, if you model that for them early on.
It’s like religion, food preferences, senses of humor, and so on. Kids are keen observers of what their parents, relatives, and other close community members do, and if they’re all accepting, they will be too.
Quite a bit of childhood is about playing with being different sorts of people (or animals, or trains, planes, cars, tractors, you name it), so it’s hardly a stretch for them to see grown-ups doing it too. It’s just the 'funny lady telling a story". Tomorrow it’ll be something different. After all a lot of us grew up being taken to Sunday School to listen to a bloke in a frock telling us fantastic tales about miracles.
The American right’s current efforts to incite a moral panic about LGBT people and drag performers does not lead to the conclusion that exposure to LGBT people and drag performers is detrimental to children. The conclusions it does lead to are unsuitable for expression in this forum.
The answer to the OP as to why Drag Story Time is a thing is: it’s fun. That’s it. It’s fun, kids like it, so why not? Men in drag has been a staple of comedy for eons anyway, and the whole drag scene is (largely) supportive of self-expression, entertaining and amusing. This is just using the power of drag for good.
When my daughter was ~5, she loved going to the town library for story hour. One week she came home and asked me how long ago dinosaurs were alive. I told her 50 million years ago. She shook her head knowingly and told me the librarian was a liar. Turns out one of the kids asked the librarian how old she was and the librarian said when she was their age there were dinosaurs.