Drag Queen Story Hour in Pittsburgh

Kids are gender-explorers, still developing their own sense of what gender is and how they want to express it. For queer kids, seeing and interacting with queer adult role models can give them confidence in themselves and who they are becoming. Hopefully, they see that it gets better. For kids who aren’t queer, seeing and interacting with queer adult role models helps them become aware of the rich diversity of humans in the world.

Drag queens, with their gorgeous and fascinating costumes, are the very model of creativity and confidence. The first time my toddler saw a drag queen, her eyes lit up and she thought she’d met a real princess. (I didn’t correct her.) Adults might associate drag queens with late-night entertainment, but, wherever they go, they simply light up a room. It’s a perfect, if unintuitive fit.

Drag Queen Story Hour was started in San Francisco by Michelle Tea, a queer author and filmmaker. The program, which did not use tax dollars, but was paid for by a private group, brought in drag queens to read stories, conduct sing-alongs, and answer children’s questions. It has since spread, to New York, Los Angeles, and now, Pittsburgh, bringing glamour to libraries across the country. In a world where books compete with flashy shows and movies, drag queens bring pizazz to promote literacy.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will present its first Drag Queen Story Hour on August 26th, from 2-3 p.m., at the Allegheny branch. There will be singing, dancing, playing, and, of course, stories! The CLP hopes that the event will promote acceptance of the diversity of gender expression in our community. Attendees are encouraged to dress up in their own finery as they wish.

This article originally appeared on QueerPgh.com. This article is preserved as a part of the Q Archives project. Please consider donating to help preserve Pittsburgh’s Queer history.