Picture the scene. It is the middle of the afternoon. The window blinds are closed, the lights dimmed. The eager audience sits cross-legged on a patchwork rug, a frisson of excitement filling the air. Just as enthusiasm gives way to impatience, a captivating vision of womanhood bursts into the room in a glorious blaze of sound and sequins, riding a glittering chariot (a new Pride Ranger 2.0 All-Terrain 8mph Mobility Scooter) to the strains of Miley Cyrus’s ‘Wrecking Ball’.
Her hair is a breathtakingly intricate architectural marvel, two-feet high and bedecked with curls. The heels of her knee-high patent-leather boots are an unapologetic six inches long. A hot-pink tulle miniskirt mischievously teases the tops of her muscular thighs. Her legs are demi-covered in playful red stockings with holes meticulously torn in all the right places. A pair of purple elbow-length gloves perfectly matches her metallic-effect lip gloss, expertly selected to complement her beard. This fierce vision of femininity is an angel of empowerment, bestowing gifts of tolerance and acceptance upon all she surveys.
Her audience gasps in wonder as she majestically parks her scooter by the sandpit and finishes off the song by twerking like a demon in front of a life-size cardboard cut-out of Peppa Pig. As Miley’s affirmatively iconic track fades into silence, the Drag Queen graciously lowers her bottom onto a bean-bag throne and settles down to read The Hormonally Challenged Caterpillar to a receptively malleable audience.
This was the first five minutes of my very own Drag Queen Story Time. The ‘Queen’ was yours truly, the audience a group of impressionable children from a nearby kindergarten. Drag Queen Story Time, for those of you too transphobic to know, is now a phenomenon in libraries across the planet, with the exception of reactionary and conservative parts of the world such as Winnipeg. It’s a chance for children to explore their sexuality and sample the cornucopia of LGBTQ+ lifestyle choices in the comfort of a safe space.
I call it a ‘Genderdentity Awareness Session’ (GAS). A whiff of my GAS benefits young minds as the sexual equivalent of career guidance for high schoolers. As young Ryan watches in wonder as I hypnotically gyrate my hips in time to Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’, he thinks to himself, ‘One day, that could be me!’ Of course, he won’t have to wait long. Desmond is Amazing, who’s now a ripe old 13 years of age, began dragging it up when he was just six. It’s a very exciting time for small children who wish to dress like hookers.
Like all progressive movements, Drag Queen Story Time has been willfully misunderstood. Conservative white supremacists reject gender nonconformity and inflict verbal violence upon the drag community. The naysayers say we do this as an ego trip and that I’m a narcissist. I can confidently state that it’s not all about me: the children are my priority. When I see that entranced look on their tiny faces, I know my jaw-droppingly fierce grinding has changed their lives forever. Does that sound narcissistic? Of course not.
I ended the session with a tastefully erotic pole-dancing lesson. Most of the children took part enthusiastically, just as nature intended. One cis girl, however, appeared slightly distressed. Her name was Molly. She refused to straddle the pole, despite me explaining that a refusal to fully embrace and celebrate Drag Culture was a homophobic micro-aggression and that her chances of getting into a good college were dwindling with each bigoted sob.
As she sat there screaming for her mom in the kindergarten teacher’s arms, I was reminded that we still dwell in a dragphobic society. Narrow-minded zealots like Molly are still taught the toxic doctrine that Drag Queens are attention-seeking freaks. I felt sick, literally: I even retched a little onto the head of the biracial boy who was sitting on my knee. I stood up, bravely glaring at the children, who were now looking up at me in confusion and scorn, and remounted my sequined chariot. As I revved the engine, I held my head proud.
‘Until you let go of your learned prejudice towards Drag minorities, none of you deserves this!’, I cried, pointing with both hands towards my beautiful face with its immaculate contouring and purple diamante lashes. Then I trundled slowly from the room. They’ll never forget me, and I won’t forget them either. The children had touched me, and I had touched a few of them too.
This article was originally published in The Spectator’s July 2020 US edition.