It’s hard, even in this week before the holidays, to look at the news and the great undulating horror of social media, and feel anything like hope for the upcoming year. We suggest a potent antidote to this kind of despair: turning your gaze away from the rest of the country and direct it inward at New York City, the magical island of misfit humans floating in the red sea of America where life goes on at its usual fever pitch.
To warm your heart this week, here’s something relatively mundane happening at the public library that will probably cause rage spasms in the parts of America where they care about things like which bathroom you use: Broadly made a video of the Drag Queen Story Hour at the Park Slope branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, a monthly event designed to promote the “spirit of unfettered exploration of self that great books can prompt.” The New Yorker wrote about it too last month. The idea is to subvert the forced gender coding kids face from early on — the kind of stuff that can lead to all sorts of mental health and identity problems later in life.
“Especially in these times, I think it’s really smart and necessary for us to show the next generation that people are different than them, you shouldn’t fear them,” drag queen Merrie Cherry says in the video. “There’s a beauty in that difference.”
UPDATE: Drag Queen story hour returns Feb. 4 at 11am!
Talking to the New Yorker, Jennifer Baumgardner, executive director and publisher of the Feminist Press, said:
“Drag Queen Story Hour breaks down our most stifling ideas about gender while lifting up play, fierceness, and femininity for all.”
But surely people across the country will get mad at this story hour idea. Let their fires of rage warm your heart even more, as you try in vain to remember a time when a stranger’s gender choice or exploration has had any effect on your life whatsoever.
The story ends with this great kicker:
Lil Miss Hot Mess was packing up to leave. “I don’t have kids, but I’m a sperm donor,” she said. “I personally don’t want them, but I like having them in my life.”
The storytime is monthly, but no future events are listed on the calendar yet; check back here for updates. The Feminist Press also started Drag Queen Story Hours in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
For a more adult drag queen experience in Brooklyn, make sure to check out the monthly drag auction at this bar in Williamsburg.