Over $200,000 spent on drag queen shows at New York schools

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New York is pouring taxpayer money into a group that sends drag queens to city schools — often without parental knowledge or consent — even as parents in other states protest efforts by more increasingly aggressive in exposing children to sexist artists.

Last month alone, Drag Story Hour NYC — a nonprofit whose outrageously cross-dressing performers interact with children as young as 3 — earned $46,000 from city contracts for school appearances public buildings, street festivals and libraries, according to city records.

Since January, the group has held 49 drag programs at 34 public elementary, middle and high schools, it boasted on its website, with appearances in all five boroughs.

” I can not believe it. I am shocked,” said public school mother and state assembly candidate Helen Qiu, whose 11-year-old son attends middle school in Manhattan. “I would be furious if it was exposed without my consent. It is not part of the program.”

Since 2018, the group — formerly known as Drag Queen Story Hour NYC, before changing its name earlier this year — has received a total of $207,000 in taxpayer cash.

The tally includes $50,000 from New York State through its Arts Council, as well as $157,000 from the city’s departments of education, cultural affairs, youth and community development, and even the Department of Transportation, according to city data.

Drag Story Hour NYC reportedly racked up $46,000 from city contracts last May.
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“I am considering raising funds for any school in my district that is implementing Drag Queen Story Hour,” said city council member Vickie Paladino (R-Queens). “We’re taking hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the pockets of hard-working New York taxpayers…to fund a program teaching little kids about gender fluidity? Not. On. My. Look.”

Most of the money was allocated by city council members from their discretionary budgets, who set aside $80,000 for the group in the current fiscal year, more than triple the planned $25,000. in 2020.

Hours of children’s drag queen stories have been featured in public library branches across the city since 2017, with upcoming events scheduled at Epiphany Library in Manhattan and Woodside Public Library in Queens, among others.

Drag queen Harmonica Sunbeam reads books to elementary school students at STAR Academy in Manhattan.
Drag queen Harmonica Sunbeam reads books to elementary school students at STAR Academy in Manhattan.
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Cross-dressing performers typically read aloud from a list of books that teach acceptance and inclusion, including children’s classics like “Where the Wild Things Are” and “The Rainbow Fish” — and some that openly celebrate fluidity. genres, like “The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish.

But the expansion into schools across the city has brought new features to the program, its social media posts reveal.

In April, well-groomed Harmonica Sunbeam wore a tight dress to meet kindergarteners at Manhattan’s STAR Academy and color pages from “The Dragtivity Book,” which encourages children to choose their pronouns and invent drag names.

Drag queen Harmonica Sunbeam reads books to elementary school students at STAR Academy in Manhattan.
Drag queen Harmonica Sunbeam is said to have taught a book encouraging children to choose pronouns.
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Bella Noche wore a skimpy mermaid-shaped bra to travel with 2nd graders from Manhattan’s PS 34 on a field trip in May, and Flame taught middle schoolers “of all genders” how to apply makeup from trail eyes at MS 88 in Park Slope.

Some of the school-related posts disappeared from the internet on Friday, less than an hour after The Post called Drag Story Hour NYC for comment.

In a deleted photo, an artist known as Professor Lionel Longlegs wore a t-shirt emblazoned with the message ‘I don’t want to look or be Cis’ to an audience of elementary school children in the PS 191 library on the Upper Western coast.

Drag queen Yuhua Hamasaki shows students how to wear makeup at Tompkins Middle School.
Drag queen Yuhua Hamasaki shows students how to wear makeup at Tompkins Middle School.
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Some parents in the city welcomed the idea of ​​drag queen visits to the school.

“I’m happy to see all types of people included in what students are exposed to and learn about in the classroom,” said Kristen Williams, 40, whose 11-year-old daughter attends East Village middle school.

But Storm Neverson, 26, had reservations about exposing her 9- and 6-year-old daughters to the STAR Academy program.

“If they were in middle school or college, I would be okay with that because I feel like they would have a little more understanding,” Neverson said. “At that time, the children were just a little too young.”

Drag queen Bella Noche reads a book to a Manhattan PS 34 sophomore class during a school trip.
Drag queen Bella Noche reads a book to a Manhattan PS 34 sophomore class during a school trip.
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STAR Academy parents were notified in advance of the drag session at school, Neverson said, but they were unable to exclude their children.

“It was mostly like a warning, you know, like, ‘Hey, this event is coming up. We’re going to bring those people in. And that was it,” she said.

But in other schools, parents had no idea.

“I didn’t get any notification,” complained Reese Harrington, a parent at PS 191. “My daughter actually came home and told me a drag queen had come to school. .. I feel like it would have been better if this conversation had happened at home.”

Last week, angry Texas parents protested outside a “Drag the Kids to Pride” event – ​​billed as “a family drag show” – at a north Dallas gay bar called Mister Mister, where children tipping drag queens with dollar bills as they fidgeted and sashayed.

The “Libs of TikTok” Twitter account was banned on Thursday for posting a series of tweets highlighting additional drag shows for kids.

Dr Elana Fishbein, founder and president of the conservative group No Left Turn in Education, criticized the city school appearances as “a flagrant disregard for the real needs of students”.

“Exposing children to drag queens in school is nothing but an abuse of authority in an effort to sexualize children,” Fishbein said.

The DOE did not respond specifically to questions about parental notification and declined to say whether drag queens had to pass background checks – but defended the program as “life-saving”.

“Last year, 50 transgender or gender non-conforming people were killed in the United States because of their identity,” spokeswoman Suzan Sumer said. “We believe our schools play a vital role in helping young people discover and respect people who may be different from them.”

Additional reporting by Maddie Panzer

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