The Drag Queen Story Hour will go on at a Houston public library, after a judge rejected a lawsuit that claimed the program is an attempt to indoctrinate kids into a religion, in violation of the First Amendment.
As KHOU-TV reports, the Heights Branch of the Houston Public Library system has, for some time now, been hosting the monthly program in which a performer in full drag reads to the children, between 18 months and 10 years of age. The TV station describes the program as “popular.”
Popular with some, that is. Others, not so much. According to a November 2018 KHOU-TV report, a couple dozen Houstonians pushed for the city council to shut the program down. Charles Warford said that it didn’t make sense that performers in drag were reading to the kids, most of whom were too young to understand why the person reading to them was dressed and acting in-character.
“I don’t believe that other people should be able to come in there and speak to the children because they’re simply not able to understand everything.”
However, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner noted that the program is voluntary, and no one is being forced to attend. The city council decline to shut down the program.
Somerset gazette is running a poll about whether or not its appropriate to invite drag queens into libraries for storytime with little children. Vote here. https://t.co/Yoa3IjVLJZ— Caroline Farrow (@CF_Farrow) January 4, 2019
With that option having failed, opponents of the program instead turned to the courts, suing to stop the program. Specifically, the lawsuit alleged that the program violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which states that the government cannot promote religion. The lawsuit claimed that the program indoctrinated kids into “secular humanism,” a philosophy that claims that humans are capable of morality without a god.
This week, a judge dismissed that suit, and Drag Story Hour will continue in Houston.
According to the program’s website, Drag Queen Story Hour is a program where local public libraries invite drag queens in, on a monthly basis, to read to children, while fully in-character as their drag persona. The program is intended to teach children acceptance of non-traditional gender identities.
“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.”
However, not every library that has tried to institute the program has found a local populace willing to accept the program with open arms. In Louisiana, for example, as reported by the Inquisitr, the mayor of Lafayette tried — and failed — to get the program shut down at the city’s public library.