US: Why a Drag Queen Reading Feminist Fairy Tales to Kids Is So Important

At New York's first-ever Drag Queen Story Hour on Saturday morning, the dress code was: whatever you feel like! One young lady wore a formal, lilac gown with hot pink Crocs, and another wore a pink, long-sleeve T-shirt (despite the August heat) with silver stars on it. Young men accessorized with things like orange bandanas and galaxy print baseball hats. Everyone was exquisitely dressed for feminist story time (and, I can only assume, brunch shortly after).

But the most fabulously dressed guest, by far, was Ona Louise, the morning's storyteller, who wore a white, floor-length gown with long-sleeves (he confided that he just didn't feel like shaving his arms that morning), platform clogs, a full set of false eyelashes, and an auburn wig. Louise, who is named Jonathan Hamilt, when not in drag, said he usually performs at bars, in front of drunken adults. This Saturday morning at Greenlight Bookstore was his first drag reading in front of a group of little kids and their (very sober) parents.

"It's weird, because drag is usually in a gay bar with a bunch of adults, so it's a whole different audience," Hamilt said. "With kids, you don't know how they're even gonna interact with your gender presentation, so it's interesting."

Hamilt first saw a drag queen children's story hour in San Francisco, where the story hour originated as part of Radar Productions' ongoing project Queering the Castro, which, according to SF Gate, is an effort to take back "the radically queer roots" of a neighborhood that's mostly become a space for white gay men. "It was a huge," Hamilt said about San Francisco's drag story hour. "There were a bunch of queer, alternative families, and everyone knew the drag queen by name. It was a very Santa Claus type moment." Read more via Cosmopolitan