The Potluck

Lawmakers aim to defund libraries that host drag queens

By: - March 10, 2020 7:34 am
Miss Richfield 1981

Miss Richfield 1981 poses with library staff in September 2019.

Five Minnesota legislators introduced a bill this week that would withhold federal funding from public libraries that host drag queen story hours.

A dozen Hennepin County libraries hosted the story hours in October for LGBT history month to “celebrate differences and learn that it’s okay to be yourself through stories, rhymes, music and movement.”

That message failed to reach at least one anti-drag performer operative, who showed up to one event (without a child) and snapped an unfortunate picture that appeared to show a drag queen flashing a bunch of kids. Didn’t happen, reported City Pages at the time.

The bill, co-authored by Republican Reps. Glenn Gruenhagen, Sondra Erickson, John Poston, Sandy Layman and Eric Lucero (which is surprising given his own fancy and whimsical attire), is short and straightforward.

For calendar year 2021 and later, a public library that hosts a drag queen story hour​ event shall have regional library system support aid from the Department of Education​ reduced by 100 percent.

Events where drag performers host story time for children have been growing in popularity across the country, even getting featured on PBS Newshour.

But they’ve also faced backlash across the country. Missouri and Tennessee lawmakers want to ban them altogether.

In typical fashion, the American Library Association put together a reading list for people to learn about drag performance and inclusivity, but they noted that “decisions about programming are made at the local level.”

Well, maybe.

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Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Previously, he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.