#DragQueens

Why are Drag Queen Storytimes Causing Lawsuits?

We’ve all heard of the drag queen story times that are all the craze in libraries, bookstores, and other community spaces across the nation. Someone of you may have attended one, perhaps with the children in your life, as an introduction to alternative forms of storytelling and teaching of inclusion, respect, and love for all.

Being a librarian myself, this type of programming was something that our library NEEDED to have because of demographics in Santa Ana, California. So after six month of planning with our community partner The Frida Cinema, in February of this 2018, our library hosted our first Drag Queen Storytime that featured two local queens, Isabella Xochitl and Kunda Couture. The event was a fairytale-themed, bilingual performance that welcomed over 200 visitors. Among them, however, was a group of people who were infiltrating the event to sneak photos that would then turn up on their websites and social media attacking our performers, our staff, and our youth. They called our staff ‘perverted’ and said we were ‘corrupting children’ with our program that did nothing but spread love and acceptance of all people.

The ‘protestors’ were part of several religious groups in Orange County (one of the most notoriously conservative areas in the U.S.) who had begun attacks on our event a month prior to the event date. I won’t even acknowledge their name, because they don’t deserve it. Online folks called for individuals to rally together at council meetings and on the day of the event in opposition to this ‘heinous’ and ‘disturbing’ event. Luckily for us, we were able to take enough precautions to still have a successful event, the first of its kind in Orange County. But no other event has occurred since nor are there plans for another since we had some collateral damage that raised some red flags.

This type of behavior is not isolated, unfortunately, Drag Queen storytimes, or story hours, have been experiencing a great deal of pushback—primarily from religious groups that feel their rights to religious freedom have been violated. But let’s call it what it is—homophobia.

The latest case of this is occurring at one of the largest library systems in the nation, Houston Public Library. According to Chron, a group of anti-gay protestors gathered outside of the federal courthouse on Friday to proclaim that they had filed a lawsuit against the Houston Public Library because of their recent city-sponsored Drag Queen Story Hours claiming their freedom of religion has been violated. The event was advertised for patrons of all ages at the Freed-Montrose Neighborhood branch.

The group has been very active in the opposition of marriage equality, gender neutral restrooms, and are now claiming that the City of Houston is recklessly involved in the “LGBT doctrine”. The lawsuit claims that taxpayer dollars should not be used for such activities since it would never host a “man-woman marriage storytelling hour”.

According to HoustonPress, Youth Services Manager Kallie Benes said:

The goal of the program is to instill a sense of love and acceptance in our children and encourage them to be true to themselves.

One of our staff members was presented [this idea] in an outreach program, and so we followed up, and they were looking to host it in the neighborhood.

That’s part of our job — to stay abreast of the needs of our community. When they ask us for programs, we look at how we can meet their needs and make sure they’re satisfied with the services.

While the concepts that exist in libraries are generally inspired by others, Drag Queen Story Hour is a specific event created by Michelle Tea and RADAR Productions. According to their site, “RADAR Productions is a San Francisco-based non-profit that produces literary happenings around the Bay Area and beyond.  RADAR gives voice to innovative queer and outsider writers and artists whose work authentically reflects the LGBTQA community’s diverse experiences.”

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Harmonica reads at the @nypl #dragqueenstoryhour #dqsh

A post shared by dragqueenstoryhour™️ (@dragqueenstoryhour) on

 

The American Library Association has fully endorsed these types of programs, in any iteration, as a right to intellectual freedom. They have even curated a collection of resources for individuals seeking to bring Drag Queen Storytimes to their libraries or community spaces.

ALA asserts:

ALA, through its actions and those of its members, is instrumental in creating a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive society. This includes a commitment to combating marginalization and underrepresentation within the communities served by libraries through increased understanding of the effects of historical exclusion.

See why I love being a librarian? Because the library IS open!

Your drag queen event doesn’t have to be exactly like a Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH), but the mission behind your efforts toward inclusion are the same.

DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real.

For a list of Drag Queen Story Hours happening soon, or for information, check out their website.

Let’s continue to spread the love of literacy and creativity through glamorous and fabulous drag queens. I hope you will join the dragvolution by producing, attending, or supporting events of this nature in your community and beyond.

h/t: Chron, HoustonPress, RADAR Productions, American Library Association, DQSH,

 

Fab Drag-Themed Musical 'Kinky Boots' Announces Closing Date After 6 Year Run

After six Tony Awards, a Drama Desk Award, a Grammy Award and many more honors, the hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots has announced the production will bring down the curtain for the last time April 9, 2019, notching 2,507 performances at the Al Hirschfeld Theater.

The musical, which tells the world “You change the world when you change your mind,” has been celebrated on the Great White Way, in London, across the United States and around the world.

“The ideal big Broadway experience!” - The New York Observer

“This smash-hit struts its stuff with sparkle, stilettos and heart! - Time Out New York

Here's the synopsis via the official website:

Based on the 2005 film and inspired by a true story, KINKY BOOTS follows Charlie Price (Tony nominee STARK SANDS), an aspiring young businessman who is forced to give up his dreams of living the London city life in order to save his late father’s family business in Northern England. When Charlie suddenly inherits his father’s bankrupt shoe factory, he finds unexpected inspiration in the form of Lola (BILLY PORTER) a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos. As Charlie and Lola work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible... and discovers that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world.

From the beginning of the show’s genesis, the creators' message to audiences has been to learn to not only accept others for who they are, but to learn to love ourselves.

The show guide for Kinky Boots, provided to school groups who attend the show, underscores the importance of children learning to “let me be me.”

If you look at all of the influential people in the world, many of the most spectacular people were probably also highly unique individuals when they were younger. Could you imagine Lady Gaga at your high school prom or havingMark Zuckerberg sit at your lunch table? What’s funny is that what is often considered cool in school actually becomes average in the real world, whereas those students, who don’t quite fit in, may turn out to be shining stars when they grow-up.

Playing the outrageous drag queen with a heart, out actor Billy Porter's stunning performance as "Lola" won him a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award and a Grammy.

Porter's star continues to rise thanks to his breakout role in the acclaimed FX series Pose (which boasted the largest LGBTQ cast in the history of television), and will be featured the new season of American Horror Story: Apocalypse.

Porter has also used his elevated celebrity status to raise his voice on behalf of the LGBTQ community every chance he gets.

Throughout the show’s run, stars from all corners of the celebrity spectrum have lined up to don those sexy, thigh-high red boots.

The list of past/present stars includes out pansexual lead singer of Panic at the Disco! Brendon Urie, American Idol winner David Cook, out lead singer for Neon Trees’ Tyler Glenn, TV host Wayne Brady, YouTube star Todrick Hall, out pop star Jake Shears, Dancing with the Stars' Mark Ballas, and Grammy Award winner Kirstin Maldonado of Pentatonix.

“When you’re watching something that is so based in joy, you just can’t deny it,” gushed Glenn when he joined the Broadway cast.

“When we first set out to make this show, we never could have imagined the success it would have here on Broadway and around the world,” said Harvey Fierstein (book) and Cyndi Lauper (composer) in a joint statement. “We speak on behalf of the entire company when we say how grateful we are to the fans who have embraced our work across four continents, and counting!”

“I’ll never forget the very first performance of this show, back in Chicago in the fall of 2012,” shared Tony Award winning director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell. “It was one of those magical nights in the theater, when the material connects with its audiences in exactly the way you hope for. It felt like a gift from the theater gods then, and it still does to this day.”

“In the years since, we have witnessed attitudes towards gender non-conformity start to change all across America in ways we couldn’t have begun to imagine in 2012,” Mitchell added. “It’s never easy saying farewell to a beloved production, but knowing that Kinky Boots is leaving a more accepting world than the one it was born into is hugely gratifying for everyone involved.”

If you haven’t seen the show yet, head down to the Al Hirschfeld Theater before April 9.

(h/t The Hollywood Reporter)

Neil Patrick Harris Will Reprise Tony Award-Winning Drag Role At WIGSTOCK

For 18 years, from 1985 to 2003, WIGSTOCK celebrated drag culture in fabulous style.

And now, Tony Award winner Neil Patrick Harris, husband David Burtka and the iconic Lady Bunny are bringing WIGSTOCK back to New York City on Saturday, September 1.

The day-long drag festival will take place at the fab new Pier 17 Rooftop in New York City’s Seaport District beginning at 2PM and continuing on until 10PM.

In an Instagram video, Harris announced he will be reprising his 2014 Tony Award winning role of “Hedwig” from Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Also schedule to appear are Broadway performers Alex Newell (Once On This Island), Peppermint (Head Over Heels), as well as Justin Vivian Bond, Lypsinka, Taylor Mac, and Varla Jean Merman.

Plus, a veritable universe of drag performers including RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni Alaska Thunderfuck, Bianca Del Rio, Bob the Drag Queen, Jinkx Monsoon, Willam and many, many more.

For more info and to purchase tickets, click here.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Gay Men’s Health Crisis.

Check out Neil Patrick Harris’ announcement video below with his adorable son who reminds Neil that there will be "wig cannons" which will shoot wigs at the crowd so all can dress up. #LOL

 

 

Abrasive Pastor Disrupts Drag Queen Story Hour!

Abrasive Pastor Disrupts Drag Queen Story Hour!


This Isn’t The First Time He’s Publicly Harassed Children!

#GROAN! Frequently on my social media, I’ve encountered many acquaintances and beyond speaking of Drag Queen Story Hour. The event, created in San Francisco by Michelle Tea and Radar Productions, does just as the title of their event: Drag Queen read children’s books to give queer children role models and imagine themselves in a world where they are accepted and allowed the freedom to be themselves. Officially, the library has been open for a year – and we’ve been there to cover the Queens’ giving back to the children from the start. While the event is harmless, an Evangelist Pastor recently showed up at the Story Hour to spread his hatred.


In a video released on Facebook from NowThisPolitics, Pastor Dave Grisham of Last Frontier Evangelism. I tried to do some sleuthing for you and discovered Grisham lives in Anchorage, Alaska. On June 9th, he boasts in a public Facebook post claiming he was the first ministry in history to directly confront homosexuals in a public library. He claims the homosexuals are “coming after the children.” Check out his cringe worthy post below:



This may not be the first time you’ve seen Grisham. In December 2016, Grisham went into a Texas mall and screamed to children that Santa is not real. His public, unhinged rant – obviously terrifying children – can be rewatched here. Who is the person truly coming for children? A kind Drag Queen reading a book or someone crushing their dreams in a public space!? This guy is a lunatic!


Grisham invaded a ticketed event (the Story Hour) by announcing his name – immediately followed by “NO!” But, of course, he can not mind his own business. He continues a rant stating there is no such thing as transgender and Drag Queens. He’s clearly confused that Queens and transgender individuals are completely opposite. One is a character or a job, while the other is an actual human being. The organizers are fast to kick him out, although Grisham declares he has a right to disrupt the event. The video is so terrifying. This guy invades a completely silent, peaceful room to spread his hate. This is not okay.


Check out the disturbing video below:

 

 


Don’t forget you can check out the many events being held by Story Hour here. Just, maybe don’t show up spewing the hate in your heart.

Levi's Pays Tribute To LGBTQ Activists For Pride Campaign

A political activist, a DJ, an artist - for more than 25 years, Juanita MORE! has been a fixture in the drag world. 

MORE! hosts fundraisers for LGBTQ organizations, and in 2017, she organized a march that brought around 10,000 people together. 

For Levi’s 2018 Pride campaign, the denim giant shares her story and how she found her identity through drag.

"When I was growing up all I did was artistic things. I wanted to paint. I wanted to cook. At that time, it just didn't feel like the direction to go, and I had no one to inspire me to do that until I started doing drag and I realized I'd been living my life as an artist, but I didn't believe in it.

"I can't imagine how many drag queens are in every city. I think if I was to have my own TV show, I would get in a little truck, and drive to every rural city and find the one gay bar and the one drag queen, and interview her - because she's important to me."

Levi’s advocacy for the LGBTQ community is nothing new. Dating back to the ‘80s, the casual fashion company helped open the first AIDS clinic in the world (at San Francisco General), and continues today with their support of organizations that stand up for equality, such as the Harvey Milk and Stonewall Community Foundations.

"Our 2018 Pride campaign is about being proud, bold, and most of all, being yourself," says Levi's in a statement.

Check out Juanita MORE! in the video below, and make sure you check out her Levi's fashion designs ;)

#HappyPride2018

 

 

You can find a longer version of Levi’s 2018 Pride campaign by clicking here.

 

Netflix To Sashay With Animated Series, "Super Drags"

Netflix dropped a teaser video today to announce the streaming service is set to sashay into the “drag” races with it’s own new animated series, Super Drags.

The five episode-series, scheduled for the second half of 2018, will chronicle the adventures of superhero drag queens.

From the YouTube description: “During the day, they work in a department store and deal with their uptight bitchy boss. By night, they tighten up their corsets and transform into the baddest SUPER DRAGS in town, ready to combat shade and rescue the world’s glitter from the evil villains. Get ready, because the SUPER DRAGS are going deeper than you think.”

Brazilian website CosmoNerd has more details (via Google translation):

Super Drags is another powerful and proud addition to the diversity of Brazilian originals from Netflix and brings us the adventures of three young people with a super normal life ... during the day, Patrick, Donny and Ramon work in a department store. With annoying customers and a picky boss. At night, they release their inner divas to become Lemon Chiffon, Cran's Sapphire and Crimson Scarlet: three incredibly fabulous Super Drags who have been recruited to gather the LGBT community and spread glitter in the world.”

Super Drags. Super heroes. Wondering if a certain "Super Model of the world" might make an appearance...?

Watch the tease below and let us know what you think in the comments.

 

 

We Need To Talk About Kameron Michaels!

We Need To Talk About Kameron Michaels!


Is The Muscle Queen Too Fit For Drag Race?

As most of the LGBTQ community, I’ve been keeping up with the latest season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Mainly because I don’t want to be left in the dark with the endless amount of Vanessa Vanjie Mateo memes. Speaking of the obvious Fan Favorite, please allow me to scream her name once more - #MISSVANJIE!


Moving forward: We’ve been on a wild ride all season where this is no obvious winner, unlike Bob The Drag Queen, Sharon Needles, and Jinkx Monsoon. One of my fellow Instinct Contributors has been teeter tottering with power rankings all season, most of which I can get on board with. However, the stand out Queen this season to me has simply been under edited and it’s driving me bonkers.


I’m talking about current contestant and Muscle Queen, Kameron Michaels. I may be a little biased, on my personal social media, I’ve encountered Michaels on and off for the last few years as I’m familiar with his friendship with Aurora Sexton – you know, the girl who started an uproar last summer after calling out diva antics of Drag Race Queens. I was absolutely pumped to see someone tackle Drag Race after peeping them on and off.


On paper, Michaels is a fit for a winner and an annoying fanbase: He’s attractive, feminine, and young. Unfortunately for Michaels, his personality has been lacking on screen due to poor edit. I believe, in his real life, Michaels doesn’t try to do the most. I don’t believe he walks around town twerking or screaming in public for attention. What I can see from my screen is someone who is talented but doesn’t want to be that loud, obnoxious voice demanding to stand out in a crowd. We’ve seen a handful of Queens on this show who are willing to make asses of themselves on camera and it never pays off (The Vixen, Derrick Barry, Phi Phi O’Hara), so why are we – and the edit – being so hard on Michaels for being the literal term of congenial?


Often someone will reference Michaels’ quiet demeanor and there will be a chime added in which is basically a snore. Should we not fall for Michaels because he’s not an outrageous, over-the-top-Henney type of Queen the series wants us to believe is every Drag Queen?


We’ve recently covered Eureka O’Hara being shoved down our throats. I frankly am rooting for Eureka to take the entire show, so I’m fine with her being essentially the Narrator of the season. But, we’ve gotten blips of Miz Cracker’s upbringing, Asia O’Hara’s struggle, Aquaria’s god-awful attitude, and yet nothing from Michaels. Sure, one may argue Michaels’ soft spoken, kind nature doesn’t translate well to entertain a reality television show audience: But, while watching the show, I can’t help but realize everyone gets a better edit compared to Michaels. It was hard to even recognize Michaels as a contestant until episode five. Unfortunately, I cannot see Michaels' edit leading him to a victory – but his creativity and talent may push him into the finale.


Are we led to believe you must be a particular type to win this series? It appears the louder you are, the quicker you cry – the farther you’ll get. Again, I’m hypocritical as I would love to see Eureka – or anyone besides Aquaria – win, but it’s just a bit eye opening to say the least. I’d hate for incredibly talented Queens who are soft spoken to refrain from auditioning because they don’t want to be pegged as boring. Ouch.


Do you believe Michaels’ quiet edit eliminates him as a contender the crown?


This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

Mimi Imfurst Admits Fault In Sexual Harassment Allegations!

Mimi Imfurst Admits Fault In Sexual Harassment Allegations!


Did The Drag Race Star Go Too Far?

#LORD! Are you unfamiliar with the infamous RuPaul’s Drag Race star Mimi Imfurst? Imfurst AKA Braden Chapman is primarily known for embarrassing herself on the first edition of Drag Race All Stars and picking up another Drag Queen on stage, but it appears as if she’s still trying to put her hands on fellow Queens – and still not respectfully.


According to Queerty, Philadelphia Magazine launched an investigation in which Imfurst has been sexually harassing young men -  who are upcoming and aspiring Drag Queens – over the internet! Two of the men who came forward, Kyle Ayotte and Ethan Hunter Raysor, explained Imfurst was persistent in sexual chatting over the internet. They claim to not be the only ones who have suffered uncomfortable messages from Imfurst. The young Queens say they entertained Imfurst’s chats due to her success in the Drag community. They felt obligated to chat with her – and I totally get that. Why would you piss off Philadelphia’s most popular Drag Queen if you want to follow in her footsteps? Ayotte claims Imfurst was preying on his inexperience as a sexual fetish.


Imfurst released an apology. In it, she claims to believe the conversations were consensual. Check out what she has to say:

“It has come to my attention that my sexual conversations via online messaging were uncomfortable for multiple people that I was engaging with. [With t]wo of those people, I have had ongoing late-night sexual conversations that involved in-depth and often exaggerated cyber roleplay that although was welcomed by some has made others uncomfortable and used. For that I am incredibly sorry. I thought that our conversation, which included sexual and nonsexual discussions, was consensual. I realize now that my intent to engage in a playful and welcomed conversation that I initiated did not have the impact on the them that I thought it did.

I deeply regret that due to my nature as a public person, they felt pressured or obligated to partake in these conversations, one of which lasted over two years back and forth. I wish I had known more clearly that they did not want to participate in the conversations. If I would have known that, I would have stopped. I respect both Kyle and Ethan greatly and would never want to make them feel violated. I apologized to Ethan in October privately when this was first brought to my attention, and I now extend my apologies to others that I have hurt as well. I am not perfect. I have made great mistakes that I am truly sorry for and humbled by.

I am incredibly sorry for this and can only work to be a better person and leader in Philadelphia. If anyone has issues I hope that they will speak to me privately so I can apologize to them directly.”


Do you believe Imfurst is guilty of sexually harassing these up and coming Drag Queens?


Philadelphia Magazine spills more tea on the young men’s stories and you need to check it out HERE!

Thai Drag Queens Hope "Drag Race Thailand" Will Bring Drag & LGBTQ Lives To Mainstream Eastern Eyes

Drag queens and LGBTQ creatives are hoping the new Thai version of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” will bring LGBTQ people to the forefront of Thai citizen’s minds.

Despite being a conservative Buddhist country, Thailand is known as a LGBTQ-friendly country. This is partially due to its abundant gay night scene and the society’s acceptance of a third gender.

This increasing acceptance of LGBTQ people has led to the World Bank declaring that Thailand could become a world leader in work inclusiveness.

That said, the country still isn’t as liberally minded as Western countries and is dealing with gender and sexual equality issues such as not legalizing same-sex marriage.

But as 29-year-old Pan Pan Narkprasert sees it, there could be a change coming in the country.

Bangkok resident Pan Pan is a professional drag queen who performs at a weekly show in the Silom nightlife area of the nation’s capital. On top of that, he is now a co-host of the newly released “Drag Race Thailand.”

Last year, we shared with you the news that Thailand would be getting its own version of cult-classic-turned-mainstream-entertainment “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The show premiered last month, and has earned steady viewing numbers since.

Pan Pan hopes that the growing popularity of the show in Thailand will help give attention to the drag scene in the country and to LGBTQ people in general.

"The drag scene is growing so much more because of shows like 'Drag Race Thailand' and 'RuPaul's Drag Race'," Pan Pan told Reuters.

"Thailand's drag scene is new and fresh because drag is a form of Western culture, but Thai people are really interested in it."

In addition, Piyarat Kaljareuk, who’s the executive producer of "Drag Race Thailand", says he wants to help make drag queens in Thailand as mainstream as RuPaul’s show has made them in America.

He believes drag queens are "artists who don't yet have a platform for expression that is widely accepted," Piyarat said.

Piyarat also says this will then bring attention to LGBTQ people in the country and their rights.

"I don't want to say one show can change the world," he said, "but I certainly hope to one day see equal rights and equal social opportunities."

h/t: Reuters

A Philly Drag Queen Is Being Criticized For A Nazi-Inspired Performance

A Jewish drag queen decked out in a Nazi uniform? Just more drama happening in Philadelphia (and, of course, in ICandy too).

The once-popular-now-scorned gay bar ICandy is still trying to recover after its owner was recorded using the N word two years ago.

Now, the bar is in a new controversy.

Drag queen Satine Harlow, otherwise known as Eric Ziker, is similarly facing backlash for something that happened in ICandy last week. This time, the controversy is over a satirical performance of “Springtime for Hitler” while dressed up in a pink Nazi uniform.

While both the song, from the musical The Producers, and the performance were meant to be taken as jokes, many were offended when they either saw the show or saw Satine Harlow’s Instagram picture (seen below) with the caption, “Hail Hitler.”

Philadelphia Magazine reached out for interviews and fellow Philadelphia drag queen Ann Artist had a few words to share.

“I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. Choosing to perform at ICandy is a political statement,” Artist wrote on social media, according to the magazine. “Given the fact that this is the stance these performers choose I’m never surprised when they do anything that’s tacky and in poor taste like this. This level of bad taste is reflected in the name of the establishment and mirrored through the irreverence the performers have for their fellow community members.”

That said, Satine Harlow, who is Jewish, says people need to calm down.

“Are people really freaking the fuck out about a Jewish gay man doing an iconic number from a musical? Jesus Christ. Lighten the fuck up. It’s drag,” Ziker wrote in an Instagram story. “We’re professional, some of us, pigs in wigs. Breathe. I stand by what I did…and if you disagree, unfollow me because you have no sense of humor.”

h/t: Philadelphia Magazine

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