Drag Queen Story Hour: Bristol library service defends hosting summer tour

Drag Queen Story Hour will take place at the city’s libraries on July 28 and July 29
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Bristol’s library service has defended the hosting of drag queen story time sessions this summer.

Drag Queen Story Hour will take place at the city’s libraries on July 28 and July 29 as part of a summer tour announced earlier this week - following a one-off sold-out event at the central library on May 30 to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

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The company was founded by Aida H Dee, the creation of Sab Samuel, who aims to introduce themes of non-heterosexuality to young people in a postive way through the telling of stories.

But the announcement of the summer tour coming to Bristol has attracted criticism on social media.

One user said: “This is highly inappropriate entertainment for children. Drag is for adults and even then is not to everyone’s taste and many find it offensive for playing on sex stereotypes.”

Another said: “I’m all up for story time. I’m not up for an oversexualised caricature of stereotypical femininity to be entertaining children.”

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Yesterday, Bristol Library service was moved to respond to some of the tweets, stating it would not tolerate any discrimination or abuse aimed at any community.

It said: “Drag Queen Story Hour at Bristol Libraries will offer children a rich experience in story telling in an interactive way. Developing reading skills and an understanding of different communities provides children with a positive start in life that in turn can reduce inequalities.

“We have welcomed Drag Queen Story Hour to our libraries in the past and, as with all events involving children, safeguarding checks are carried out.

“We will not tolerate any discrimination or abuse aimed at any community. Any social media comments that contain abusive language or seek to demean or attack any community will be removed without warning and the user may be banned from our pages.”

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In an interview with the BBC last month, Mr Samuel said he did drag performances at university, before turning the hobby into a career and leaving behind his job as a marketing and brand executive.

He said it was important children were provided with role models from all communities, including LGBTQ+.

Labour Bristol City Councillor Ellie King, cabinet member for public health, communities and Bristol One City, has voiced her support for the show.

She tweeted: “I am assuming all those who object are also up in arms every Panto season? If you go on to the Drag Queen Story Time website, there is a short video which shows that there is nothing sexualised about it at all.”

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Last month, a sex education show for children, called The Family Sex Show, which was due to run at the Tobacco Factory, was cancelled after its creators received ‘unprecedented threats and abuse’.

More than 28,000 people signed a petition against the show going ahead - despite producers claiming the show had been created with input and guidance from educational and safeguarding specialists

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