Transgender Minnesotan explains why drag queen story hours harm kids

"Today many parents want to be their kids' friends. They're trying to fit in and send the message, 'I'm not judgmental.' So they expose their children to everything, but that's not their job."

Protesters and counter-protesters outside of last weekend's drag queen story hour in St. Paul. (Photos provided to Alpha News)

Drag queen story hours are growing more popular in the metro area, but some in the LGBTQ community say they’re not suitable for kids.

“Drag shows are not for kids. You don’t need to have your boobs out and your legs spread in front of children,” said Terrence, a transgender Minnesotan who asked to only be identified by a first name.

It’s “inappropriate” and “unprofessional” to put a drag persona in front of children, Terrence said.

Traditional drag queens by nature are “flirtatious” and “provocative.”

“Drag queens have always been in your face. It’s not appropriate for children. There’s a reason they put ratings on movies,” Terrence explained.

Drag queen story hours are a way of getting attention and “pushing the envelope,” according to Terrence. “We should remember respect, morality, and ethics.”

“They’re professionals. It’s an act meant for adults,” Terrence continued, “just like strippers, belly dancers, or burlesque shows. True performers know their audiences. You wouldn’t have a stripper perform in front of children.”

A story hour at the Arlington Hills library in St. Paul was disrupted by protesters last Saturday, some holding signs that read, “Hey Groomers! Leave our kids alone.”

Protest organizers said one of the performers, Doña Pepa, has posted “lewd” and sexually graphic images online. Pepa also goes by the names Pedro Pablo and Pedro Pepa online. He participated in another story hour Saturday morning at the Rice Street branch and is scheduled to attend a third on Tuesday.

A poster promoting Saturday’s protest against drag queen story hour.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter attended last weekend’s story hour to show his support. Counter-protesters also attended both events.

“Community came together this past Saturday to celebrate self-love, kindness, and belonging at Drag Story Hour,” the St. Paul Public Library system said after last weekend’s event.

“Join us for these joyful events that celebrate expansive gender expression for children and their caring adults through stories, music, dancing, laughter, and art,” the library said.

When children are taught to accept sexual perversion and hyper-sexual behavior, they are being groomed, said one parent who attended this weekend’s protest.

“They make the abnormal seem normal. They want to strip kids of all modesty and think there’s nothing wrong with promiscuity,” said Lori Humble, a St. Paul resident.

“Their brains haven’t fully developed yet. Why are we teaching kids about sex at the age of 5? We’re taking away their innocence. I have a problem with it,” Terrence said.

A group of counter-protesters gathered outside the Rice Street branch for Saturday’s drag queen story hour. (Photo provided to Alpha News)

Jodi Laliberte, a community action team leader for Restore Minnesota, said she hopes to alert parents to what is going on.

“No parent willingly takes their child to a story hour to be groomed, but that’s exactly what is happening,” she said. “Drag queen story hours should be taken out of public libraries. We shouldn’t have to pay for this with our tax dollars.”

Even though these story hours have become popular across the country, Terrence said drag queens shouldn’t be behaving “that way” in front of children.

It’s confusing for children, Terrence said. “Their minds aren’t developed enough to know the difference. Today many parents want to be their kids’ friends. They’re trying to fit in and send the message, ‘I’m not judgmental.’ So they expose their children to everything, but that’s not their job.”

“I’m a grandma of six, and I don’t believe this is appropriate entertainment for toddlers and pre-schoolers,” added Laliberte. “They’re not ready to absorb this. They still believe in Santa Claus, and we’re asking them to watch and make decisions about sexuality.”

Many parents don’t understand what’s going on, Humble said. “They take their kids by the hand and give them money to tip. They don’t see it as grooming,” she said. “Libraries used to be a safe place.”

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Sheila Qualls

Sheila Qualls is an award-winning journalist and former civilian editor of an Army newspaper. Prior to joining Alpha News, she was a Christian Marriage and Family columnist at and a personal coach. Her work has been published in The Upper Room, the MOPS blog, Grown and Flown, and The Christian Post. She speaks nationally on issues involving faith and family.