LGBT campaigners have backed a new initiative which involves drag queens reading and singing to primary-aged children.
Drag Queen Story Time, inspired by a similar scheme in the US, is now being pushed in the UK, with programmes being developed in Birmingham and Bristol. The first event took place last week at an LGBT pride festival.
The initiative involves men dressed as women reading from a book they enjoyed as children, followed by a song with a ‘drag twist’, and a reading from a ‘feminist fairy tale’.
One example includes changing the words of the popular children’s song ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ to include the words “the skirt on the drag queen goes swish, swish, swish”.
Readings could be from pro-LGBT books such as My Princess Boy, which tells the story of a young boy who dresses as a girl.
Jordan Daly, head of the Time for Inclusive Education campaign (TIE) – which is pushing for pro-LGBT teaching in all Scottish schools – endorsed the idea.
Admitting that it could be “provocative or controversial for some people”, he said: “Using drag queens like this is a fun and colourful way of challenging rigid gender stereotypes.”
Ciarán Kelly, Head of Communications at The Christian Institute, said the initiative could harm young children.
“Children are becoming increasingly confused by teaching that constantly bombards them with the notion that they can change gender.
“This has nothing to do with helping children but everything to do with using them as a propaganda tool to further the radical agenda of those who wish to do away with the precious distinctions between men and women.”
A crowd-funding campaign has been started to bring the project to Bristol. So far, 30 drag queens have agreed to take part.
Asked about the initiative, a spokesman for the Educational Institute of Scotland, Scotland’s largest teaching union, said it “may well be a useful approach”.
But they added that schools should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to adopt it.