DOE treats NYC students to virtual drag queen story hour

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It’s a whole new curriculum for New York City’s tots: ABCs, 123s, and he-to-shes.

The city Department of Education has been treating kids age 3 to 7 to a surprise “drag queen story hour” in a remote-learning program it recommends as supplemental material for students stuck at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lil Miss Hot Mess, a San Francisco-based drag performer, shimmies her way through a dramatic reading of her picture book “The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish” in a recent episode of “Let’s Learn,” a DOE production created with public television’s WNET.

Flaunting glittery make-up, a huge wig and a padded bosom to match, the cross-dressing author coaches children to wriggle their shoulders, brush on makeup, and flash imaginary bling — all to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round.”

“I think we might have some drag queens in training on our hands,” she comments approvingly.

Illustration from "The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish."
“The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish” is inspired by the popular nursery rhyme “The Wheels on the Bus.”
PBS.org

The book features nine “fabulous queens,” some with gender-bending names like “Jaclyn Jill,” “Ella Menopipi,” and “Cinderfella,” who sports long blue hair along with a luxuriant mustache.

“If some of those names sound a little bit silly to you, you’re right,” Lil Miss Hot Mess giggles.

To close, she blows the kids a kiss — and advises them to “be bold, shine bright and always act with bravery.”

Lil Miss Hot Mess.
Drag queen story hour is part of NYC Department of Education’s “Let’s Learn” public television program.
PBS.org

The taxpayer-funded drag training session, first reported in the Daily Caller, drew outrage this week on social media — but the DOE defended it.

“Drag is a celebration of self-expression and creativity,” DOE spokesperson Sarah Casanovas said, calling the storytelling session “a fun optional resource … to support learning from home.”

“The DOE has not received any complaints from families,” she added.

Drag queen story hours have been featured at library branches throughout the city since 2017, with a virtual version scheduled at the Queens Public Library in June.

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