A new survey suggests that a strong majority of American adults, including most parents of school-aged children, don't believe "Drag Queen Story Hour" events featuring men dressed as women are appropriate for young audiences.
About 60% of American adults consider such events as Drag Queen Story Hour to be inappropriate for children, according to a Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey.
The survey of 1,000 U.S. American Adults was conducted on Oct. 26 to Oct. 27 with a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points.
The survey asked respondents "how appropriate for children" are Drag Queen Story Hour events held at many libraries across the U.S. in which "men dressed as women perform for young children."
About half (51%) of parents of school-age children said they believe Drag Queen Story Hour is "not at all" appropriate for children, compared to 44% of all American adult respondents who said the same.
Only 29% of all respondents said it's appropriate, with 11% of respondents saying they consider the events "very appropriate."
One in 10 (10%) respondents said they were unsure if Drag Queen Story Hour is appropriate for kids.
According to the official site for the now-rebranded Drag Story Hour, the chapter network seeks to use "the art of drag to read books to kids in libraries, schools, and bookstores" and help them to "see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where everyone can be their authentic selves."
The survey also found that 71% of respondents believe Drag Queen Story Hour should not receive any taxpayer funding, compared with 14% of adults who support such funding. Approximately 15% of respondents were unsure.
In New York City alone, since 2018, taxpayers have paid more than $200,000 to fund the program, where drag queens interact with schoolchildren as young as 3 years old, the New York Post reported in June, citing city records.
Jonathan Hamilt, executive director for Drag Story Hour, declined a request for comment from The Christian Post, calling the survey "extremely biased."
Spawned in 2015 by authors Michelle Tea and Juli Delgado Lopera in San Francisco, Drag Story Hour is a nonprofit made up of several local chapters across the U.S., each of which is independently managed and funded, according to its website.
The new survey finds that Democrats (47%) are much more likely than Republicans (17%) to say that Drag Queen Story Hour events are "at least somewhat appropriate for children." Twenty-two percent of respondents not affiliated with either political party said the same.
Majorities from both major political parties — 89% of Republicans and 56% of Democrats — oppose taxpayer funding for Drag Queen Story Hour.
Younger adults under 40 (47%) are mere likely than adults between the ages of 40-64 (20%) and adults ages 65 and older (17%) to say that Drag Queen Story Hour is at least somewhat appropriate.
Married respondents are more likely than unmarried respondents to think Drag Queen Story Hour is inappropriate for children.
Despite opposition from parents and Christian organizations, Drag Story Hour insists in a statement that any suggestion that the movement has "an agenda to indoctrinate children misunderstands [LGBT] experiences and is rooted in homophobia and transphobia."
"It's really beautiful to have drag queens painting children's faces and telling stories," said Lopera in a testimonial. "It's a kid's world to be very imaginative. If children were allowed they would dress up every day. I don't think they're thinking about gender assumptions. They're just seeing the drag queens as other people who are being imaginative."
That's not how Rich Penkoski sees it.
Penkoski is a street preacher and pastor in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where he's part of an effort to get the city to limit drag shows in public spaces after one was held in September in a public setting.
To date, Penkoski said over 2,000 people had signed a petition calling for drag shows to be banned in public settings in Bartlesville.
According to Penkoski, the town hosted a "family-friendly" drag show sponsored by Oklahomans For Equality. This group says it "seeks equal rights for LGBTQ+ individuals and families," according to its mission statement.
Penkoski said the performers for that event were not Oklahomans but were brought in from Texas and Arkansas. He contends these events are not family-friendly but "graphic and sexually suggestive."
"From stripping to grabbing their genitals and men dressed in women's lingerie shaking their half-naked butts in the faces of children while the children tip them dollar bills is akin to a striptease," he said.
Penkoski shared images and video footage with the city council and is lobbying state officials.
Penkoski cited a video of what he says is an 11-year-old girl at a local pride event screaming the phrase "small d— energy" as Penkoski and others arrived to protest the event.
"You don't see children behave or talk like this except at pride events because pride is all about sex and promoting sex to children," he said.
For him, the fight against drag shows and other similar events requires understanding what he says is a "code" language of sorts.
"[Drag Story Hour] is 'family friendly' in the sense of 'family' as an old-school queer code to identify and connect with other queers on the street," Penkoski said. "The goal is not to reinforce the biological family but to facilitate the child's transition into the ideological family."
While drag shows remain a national trend, one Texas state lawmaker is calling for a ban in that state on drag shows and other sexually inappropriate displays for children following reports of minors attending an event featuring drag queens at a Dallas gay bar.
Billed as a "family-friendly pride experience," the bar Mr. Misster hosted a "Drag The Kids To Pride" show on June 4 as a "spin-off" of the bar's Champagne Drag Brunch.
The event — which offered "limited spots for young performers to take the stage solo, or with a queen of their choosing" — offered mimosas for adults and special "mocktails" for guests under 21, according to the description on Eventbrite.
A bill introduced in the Louisiana legislature would criminalize drag show performances with children present. If passed, the bill would require any establishment that hosts an adult cabaret performance to require patrons to show ID proving they are 18 years old.
In 2020, a bill was introduced in Missouri aiming to restrict drag performers from reading to small children at public libraries.
Ian M. Giatti is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.