Drag Queen Story Hour - VERMONT
Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is just what it sounds like...
...drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real.
Emoji Nightmare and Nikki Champagne, two of Vermont's favorite drag queens, will be sure to delight and captivate audience members of all ages as they share stories focused on individuality, activism, gender, creativity, expression, and social responsibility.
DQSH was created by Michelle Tea and RADAR Productions in San Francisco. DQSH events occur regularly in SF, NY, and LA. For more information on DQSH, visit DragQueenStoryHour.org.
There were “queens,” but no drama at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library on Saturday. Not, that is, unless you count a uniformed police officer gamely posing for a photograph with a couple of colorful drag queens before he and his partner went on their way and Nikki Champagne and Emoji Nightmare sat down to read out loud.
They had a lot of listeners.
More than 130 people filled the Hayes Room — spilling out into the library’s corridor — for a story hour Carolyn Brennan, the co-director at Kellogg-Hubbard, said was never in danger of being canceled, despite rumors to the contrary.
For the second year in a row, the Kellogg-Hubbard Library hosted a drag queen story hour for the public. This time more than 100 people attended, mostly with their children of young ages.
Drag queen Nikki Champagne told True North she appreciates all perspectives and said everyone is free to participate or not.
“That would be my ask: to come to a drag queen story hour,” Champagne said. “Or, don’t even come to a drag queen story hour, attend a story hour in general. They happen every single weekend at libraries across our nation.
“What is beautiful about a drag queen story hour is allowing and [showing] folks from the LGTBQ community that they are also welcomed in this space and can be attending events that straight and cis-gender people have been attending for years.”
Calls poured into Kellogg-Hubbard Library after a conservative online commentator last month urged her nearly 700,000 Facebook followers to contact the organizers to “respectfully express your disgust” about a planned a Drag Queen Story Hour.
Many people did call to object, leaving sometimes lewd and threatening messages. But none showed up.
Instead, well over 100 parents and children — many donning glitter and rainbow-themed apparel — converged on the Montpelier library Saturday morning to listen to popular Vermont drag queens Emoji Nightmare and Nikki Champagne read books and lead singalongs.
“This was solidly double or better what we would normally see,” said library co-director Carolyn Brennan of the event’s turnout.
One month after a conservative Facebook personality rallied her 700,000 followers to cancel a Drag Queen Story Hour in Montpelier, the show went on as planned.
Elizabeth Johnston, better known as "Activist Mommy," called for her followers to contact the Kellogg-Hubbard Library and "respectfully express their disgust at the event."
Librarians say they received hundreds of calls from concerned people around the country.
In the wake of Johnston's campaign condemning the national Drag Queen Story Hour organization, multiple story hours around the United States were shut down, including in Ohio and Texas.
More than 130 Vermonters packed into the Kellogg-Hubbard Children's Library in Montpelier to see Drag Queen Story Hour, Saturday. Despite calls to cancel, there were no protesters during the event. Library officials, parents, and the drag queens all say the turnout is a reflection of Vermont's dedication to inclusivity.
The show will go on.
Two drag queens say they haven’t been cowed by angry calls to cancel their planned story hour for children at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier.
The July 13 event will not be the first time Justin Marsh and Taylor Small have dressed in drag and read books to kids at a public library. But this event has gotten the most national attention.
Library and city officials have defended a “Drag Queen Story Hour” program for children at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library on July 13.
The hour-long program, at 10:30 a.m., returns after a packed inaugural performance last year by two well-known Vermont drag queens, which was attended by 85 children, parents and community members.
In Burlington, Vermont, Nikki Champagne and Emoji Nightmare led a reading and singing session in front of more than 100 children and their parents in December.
“People forget about all the activism queens do in the community,” Champagne said. "We’re more than those dive-bar queens who lip-sync to songs."
More than 100 people packed into the Colchester Meeting House late Saturday morning for a story hour led by two popular Vermont drag queens, the attendance dwarfing those seen at the regular Burnham Memorial Library story times.
Dressed in white bridal gowns and flowing veils, Emoji Nightmare and Nikki Champagne read children’s books about gender identity and inclusion and led group sing-alongs as kids squealed with delight — a few of them dressed in costumes of their own.
“I have this book at home!” one child exclaimed when the drag queens held up the book “Red: A Crayon’s Story,” all about a blue crayon mistakenly labeled red.
Six-year-old Reid Lord-Audesey of Essex had read the book before, too, he said as he pasted a pink construction paper crown together. The group craft accompanied the book “King and King and Family,” a tale of two married kings who adopt a child together.
Reid is a big fan of drag queens, his mother, Christina Lord, confirmed. They often talk about gender identity and social norms in their family, especially because some relatives are transgender.
It's story time, with a twist. It brought laughs, and taught a little sign language.
The story time, hosted by the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, featured local drag queens Emoji Nightmare, and Nikki Champagne.
"I basically saw that it was happening in New York, and Chicago, L.A. All these major metropolitan areas but it hadn't happened in Vermont," said Emoji Nightmare.
That is until now. More than 100 children and parents packed the library on Saturday.
"A lot of our conversations are around individuality but also community so how you can be yourself and show up in spaces and not conform into what everyone else is doing," said Nikki Champagne.
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