A total of nearly $200,000 has been spent by New York City, the state, and the city on drag performers since 2018. According to the New York Post, the state provided $50,000 via its Council on the Arts, while the city of New York provided $157,000 through its Departments of Education, Cultural Affairs, Youth and Community Development, and Transportation.
The Drag Story Hour NYC (previously known as the Drag Queen Story Hour NYC) has performed 49 times in 34 schools since January of this year. The ensemble earned $46,000 in May by performing at schools, festivals, and libraries.
The NYC Council has budgeted $80,000 for Drag Story Hour NYC this year, more than three times the amount authorized for the 2020 season.
“Where the Wild Things Are” and “The Rainbow Fish” are among the children’s classics that members of Drag Story Hour NYC read aloud during their sessions. Other works, however, such as “The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish,” “overtly celebrate” gender fluidity.
Even though parents of STAR Academy students were not given the option to prevent their children from participating in drag show sessions, at least they were informed about these events. Other schools’ parents had no idea. Drag Story Hour NYC’s background checks were denied by a Department of Education representative, although she did declare the group’s activities “life-saving.” She stated, “We believe our schools play a critical role in helping young people learn about and respect people who may be different from them.”
Featured Image Credit: Drag queen Harmonica Sunbeam reads books to elementary students at the STAR Academy in Manhattan, Instagram.