Over the weekend, drag queen story hours targeting children of all ages were held at the West Warwick Civic Center and Weaver Library in East Providence. The events featured performances in drag by individuals going by the names of Miss Haley Star, Imogen Dragons, and Russel Sprouts. These events were hosted by library staff and others in order to teach children about alternative sexual activities during Pride Month.
During the story hour in East Providence, Star coaxed a crowd of children mostly under the age of ten to sing that “the hips of the drag go swish, swish, swish” to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus.” His performance featured a reading of Daddy and Dada by Isaac Webster and Ryan Brockington.
The East Providence event was protested by adults concerned about the sexualization of children.These activists were met with a brigade of rainbow colored umbrellas used to block their message from being seen by attendees of the event.
As the event in East Providence came to a close, the protestors were confronted by a man angered by their message of protecting children from sexualization. The East Providence police intervened without incident.
“I recently read an article written by a “Drag Queen” who said he is shocked by parents who bring their kids to a ‘Drag Queen Story Hour.’ He said his performances are for adults and they have a purpose that is definitely not for children!” said David Aucoin, executive director of the Rhode Island Family Institute. “Bottom line is our libraries are becoming places to “over-sexualize” and groom our children using porn and these story hours.”
The West Warwick event was hosted by the West Warwick Health Equity Zone, in partnership with the West Warwick Public Library and the West Warwick and Kent County Prevention Coalitions.
There was also a similar event held in 2021 that protested by a large group of concerned citizens. Tarot card readings, Drag Bingo, and story hour was featured at the event.
Drag Queen Story Hours are part of national trend. On the official Drag Queen Story Hour website, they list a chapter in Rhode Island. At Rogers Free Library in Bristol, a drag queen story hour event scheduled for June 15, 2019 was canceled and then rescheduled after protests and counter-protests.
Of the following two issues related to Rhode Island’s public schools, which one is a greater concern?