A set of Republican Minnesota State Representatives introduced a bill, Monday, to eliminate state funding for libraries that host “drag queen story hour.”
Drag queen story hours are increasingly common so-called educational events during which a man dressed as a woman reads stories to an audience of small children, usually at a public library. In October, a story hour in Hennepin County, Minnesota, generated national headlines after a drag queen wore an outfit that featured a mini skirt and flesh covered garment that most felt was sexual in nature. Now, a newly proposed bill (HF4323) aims to reduce the number of drag queen story hours occurring in Minnesota by cutting state funding to libraries that host such events.
Rep. Eric Lucero says that since the new bill received its first reading at start of this week, he and the proposed legislation’s other authors have been inundated with “hate mail.”
“I woke up this morning to an email inbox full of hate emails from those who insist taxpayer dollars from the state level be allowed to continue funding ‘drag queen story hour events’ hosted at the local level,” he said, via Facebook.
Erin Maye Quade, a former State Rep. and current advocacy director of the group “Gender Justice,” voiced her criticism for HF4323 via Twitter.
“Who worries about kids being read to???” she asked, joined by dozens of her supporters who expressed their affinity for drag queen story hours. Some even shared anecdotes about bringing their own kin to hear stories read by cross-dressing performers.
If passed into law, HF4323 would take effect beginning in the calendar year 2021 and would make all libraries that choose to host drag queen story hours past that point “ineligible for regional library basic system support aid from the Department of Education.” The money not given to the offending libraries would then be “reapportioned equally among the other public libraries in the participating regional public library system,” according to the text of the bill.
Lucero is joined in his authorship of this bill by Republican Representatives Glenn Gruenhagen, Sondra Erickson, John Poston and Sandy Layman. HF4323 was assigned to the Democrat-led Education Finance House Committee after its first reading.
Missouri recently proposed a similar bill aimed at curbing drag queen story hours, much to the chagrin of its drag queens who protested outside the Missouri State Capitol, Saturday, according to the News Tribune.