New York, the state and the city, has paid over $200,000 to drag performers for appearances in New York City public schools since 2018.
The state funds came via its Council on the Arts ($50,000) while the Big Apple’s from its Departments of Education, Cultural Affairs, Youth and Community Development, and Department of Transportation ($157,000), the New York Post reports.
Since January of this year, the group Drag Story Hour NYC (formerly the Drag Queen Story Hour NYC) has made 49 appearances in 34 schools, elementary through senior high. In May, the group made $46,000 for its appearances at schools, festivals and libraries.
New York City Council has allocated $80,000 for Drag Story Hour NYC this year alone, more than triple the 2020 funding.
Drag Story Hour NYC members usually “read aloud from a list of books that teach acceptance and inclusion, including children’s classics like ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ and ‘The Rainbow Fish.'” But other books “overtly celebrate” gender fluidity such as “The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish.”
“I can’t believe this. I am shocked,” said public school mom and state Assembly candidate Helen Qiu, whose 11-year-old son attends a Manhattan middle school. “I would be furious if he was exposed without my consent. This is not part of the curriculum.” …
“I am considering pulling funding to any school in my district that is implementing Drag Queen Story Hour,” said City Council member Vickie Paladino (R-Queens). “We are taking hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the pockets of hardworking New York taxpayers … to fund a program teaching little children about their gender fluidity? Not. On. My. Watch.” …
Some city parents welcomed the idea of drag-queen visits to school.
“I’m glad to see all types of people included in what students are exposed to and learn in class,” said Kristen Williams, 40, whose 11-year-old daughter attends an East Village middle school.
But Storm Neverson, 26, had reservations about her 9- and 6-year-old girls’ exposure to the program at STAR Academy.
“If they were in junior high school or middle school, I would be okay with that because I feel like they would have a little bit more understanding,” Neverson said. “At this time, the kids were just a little too young.”
Parents of STAR Academy students weren’t even allowed to opt their kids out of drag show sessions — but at least they were notified about them. Parents at other schools had no clue. A Department of Education spokeswoman refused comment on parental notification and whether Drag Story Hour NYC members passed background checks, but did say the group’s events are “life saving.”
“We believe our schools play a critical role in helping young people learn about and respect people who may be different from them,” she said.
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