The sad confusion of ‘Drag Queen Story Time’

21 February 2020

Our chief executive Andrea Williams reports on what happened when she went along to a half term ‘Drag Queen Story Time’ event

A sad and strange phenomenon of recent years has been the apparent explosion of Drag Queen Story Time events held in public libraries across the UK aimed at very young children.

It’s half term, which is a time when parents look to fill the days with happy activities for their children and a trip to the local library is a free and easy way to pass time and keep children occupied in a safe and happy environment.

So when I heard that one such Drag Queen Story Time was coming to a library nearby, I decided to go and witness exactly what was happening.

Canada Water Library (in Southwark) was hosting ‘Adam All’ and ‘Apple Derrieres’ for the show but you probably wouldn’t have known about it unless you’d seen internet promotion or looked very closely at the library’s schedule. There weren’t posters or banners up inside the library to advertise (or warn about) the event. You could quite easily, as many were, just be passing the time of day in the library.

And that’s exactly what happened to one mother who recognised me and told me her experience:


Every time we oppose these kinds of event, we hear people say that parents can always stay away if they don’t like it. But there will be parents just trying to use the library’s services who don’t expect their children to suddenly be confronted by a show like this. It truly was remarkable to see that play out in front of my eyes!

Drag culture is a distorted parody of true masculinity and femininity. The look of a drag queen is exaggerated – often emphasising female sexual characteristics that the man performing doesn’t truly possess. When a man puts on makeup, hair and clothing to become a drag queen, he brings to his feminine persona a masculine bravado that is quite unlike anything a real woman would naturally behave.

There are some, particularly in gay culture, who are entertained by this kind of act. But we must understand that drag acts rely on subverting the natural order, created by God himself, of men and women, different but equal in value.

Not to mention the lewdness. One completely inappropriate drag queen show, performed by ‘Mama G’, involves teaching toddlers to twerk – a dance move that is normally intended to be sexually provocative.

But as the show today started it became clear that this show wasn’t so extreme. The two performers appeared to both be women in reality – with drag queen ‘Apple Derrieres’ portraying her female character far too convincingly to come over like an ordinary (i.e. male) drag queen.

‘Adam All’, on the other hand is described as the ‘Godfather’ of the UK drag king scene. Although she identifies as non-binary, and plays a drag king, her naturally high voice immediately breaks any illusion of masculinity.

The show itself was nearly all very normal performances of normal childhood stories like The Tiger Who Came to Tea and songs like Old MacDonald Had a Farm. It wasn’t full of feminist fairy tales and gender fluid novels as portrayed in the publicity. It felt more mundane than outlandish.

And that may just be the biggest problem. There’s absolutely nothing normal about a non-binary drag king and a genuinely-female drag queen (who are romantic partners in real life) playing to very young children in a library at half term. But for those children, this bizarre and confused result of the sexual revolution is portrayed as completely normal and uncontroversial.

We can’t be anything we want to be. We are men and women, made by God. We’ll be at our best when we embrace that reality – as individuals and a society.

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