Drag Queen Storytime Sparks Joy in Havertown
Haverford Township Free Library celebrates Pride Day this Saturday.
Last year for their annual Pride Family Festival, the Please Touch Museum brought in members of the Drag Mafia, led by Ian Morrison’s Brittany Lynn, for Drag Queen Storytime. The event was wildly popular, and was giving a bigger venue to what they had started the year before. The theater was at capacity, and those who made it inside were treated to an hour of stories about acceptance, standing up to bullies, and embracing who you are.
It was uplifting, fun, and an absolute joy. And it was performed by two men in dresses, wigs, and full makeup.
I have written about Drag Queen Storytimes around town on our sister site Philly Family many times. We started following Brittany Lynn’s performances back in 2017, lined up at Please Touch Museum, share upcoming events with our community, and excitedly showed up when Maria TopCatt began a Drag Storytime residency at the beloved Mister John’s Music in the Italian Market. And this year, we awarded our Philly Family Community Builder LOVE Award to Ian Morrison for bringing this to our community and seeking to build bridges rather than walls.
Bringing your child to any event is a personal choice, and being vocal about your beliefs is a right that we hold sacred in this country. So, if you feel that your Saturday morning is best spent outside of a library because some kids are happy inside its walls, fine (though we do have lots of recommendations for other ways to spend that time in our High Five).
Instead, let me share why we love these events and why they matter.
First off, they are fun. Any event that involves reading to a small child and holding their attention is a win for literacy. We have heard some great books like Red: A Crayon’s Story and The Cranky Ballerina, and have read them over and over again on our own. And there’s often a dress-up portion to the event, too. Who doesn’t love that?
And while kids are hearing stories and smiling, they are learning that there are people in the world who may not look, feel, or dress like them or their parents—or quite possibly, those that do. Along with glitter and heels, these events bring visibility and representation to the reach of children. This is why the Please Touch Museum continues to embrace Drag Queen Storytime, why they celebrate families of all backgrounds, and why they made their new mascot Squiggles non-binary. Seeing ourselves and our loved ones reflected back at us and celebrated makes us all feel a little more accepted.
The focus on a perceived potential downside of exposing kids to a (very tame) drag performance (and sorry, but if this is out, then so is The Nutcracker) perpetuates the very real downside that comes with intolerance. LGBTQ youth are overwhelmingly more likely to contemplate or attempt suicide than their cisgender and heterosexual peers. Going to Drag Queen Storytime leaves kids with a warm feeling that whoever you are, you deserve to be that person and you deserve to be loved.
I hope that is a message that you share with your own children, regardless of whether or not you choose to attend any given event.
If you are interested in attending Drag Queen Storytime, there will be events this Saturday, June 15 at 10:30 am at the Haverford Township Free Library (1601 Darby Rd., Havertown) and at the Please Touch Museum (4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia) on Sunday, June 16 at 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm.
Photograph by Laura Swartz.