You may have heard that the Victorian Government recently held a Drag Queen Story Time (DQST) in Parliament House, ostensibly to oppose bigotry. The Premier and other ministers and Labor MPs attended.
This occurred because though some libraries across Victoria had organised Drag Queen story time for children, they ran into significant community opposition from concerned parents who did not want their kids to be exposed to Drag Queens. Therefore many GQST events were cancelled. That led to the DQST event in Parliament attended by a small group of activists, sympathisers and MPs.
While to the wider community it was essentially a non-event due to its secreted nature, it was still inappropriate.
To understand why it was inappropriate, it is vital to understand the genesis and aims of DQST. To that end, I have written to the Premier, outlining the aims of DQST as they are explained by those who began the movement in the US, Harper Keenan and Lil Miss Hot Mess. You may read the letter here.
I attach a link to an article by Harper Keenan and Lil Miss Hot Mess.
In the article the authors set out the reasons for DQST. They say:
“Queer theory has generally reflected pessimism about the future, and some queer theorists have rejected the compulsory reproductivity that children often represent in society (Edelman,2004). However, following Munoz (2009), we suggest that DQSH offers a queer relationality with children that breaks from the reproductive futurity of the normative classroom and nuclear family.”
They also say:
“In discussing the work of DQSH within our social circles, we have occasionally encountered critiques that DQSH is sanitizing the risqué nature of drag in order to make it “family friendly. ”We do not share this pessimistic view. Queer worldmaking, including political organizing, has long been a project driven by desire. It is, in part, enacted through art forms like fashion, theatre, and drag. We believe that DQSH offers an invitation towards deeper public engagement with queer cultural production, particularly for young children and their families. It may be that DQSH is “family friendly,” in the sense that it is accessible and inviting to families with children, but it is less a sanitizing force than it is a preparatory introduction to alternate modes of kinship.”
Unpacking this word salad, the authors make it clear that the aim of DQST it to shift children from attachment to their biological or nuclear family, to an attachment to queer culture or kinship.
With that in mind, in my letter to the Premier I have asked the following questions:
Assuming that it is not your or your government’s aim to sponsor a program which shifts children’s attachment away from their natural family to queer kinship I would appreciate your response to the following questions:
- Do you condemn any attempt by any group (including DQST) to shift children away from their attachment to their natural family?
- Do you agree that a child’s natural family is the best place for a child to be nurtured and any move to shift children from those families to “alternative modes of kinship” is harmful?
- Will you commission an inquiry to ascertain the aims of DQST in Australia?
It may be good if you send a similar letter to the Premier and the Equality Minister Harriet Shing, as well as your local MP.