More than 30 Massachusetts public libraries are joining together to host a virtual drag queen event, targeted for teens aged 13-18, in which New England-based drag queen “Giganta Smalls” will teach the young people about the life of a drag performer and help them “pick up some advice on costuming and make-up.”

According to a Westhampton Public Library Facebook post for the June 10th event called “Dishing Out Drag with Giganta Smalls,” over 30 Massachusetts public libraries are “co-hosting this PRIDE event,” that has been “made possible by a discretionary fund of the Trustees of Rowley Public Library.”

The post continues:

Join us to experience the world of drag through the eyes of popular New England Drag Queen Giganta Smalls. Teens aged 13 to 18 are welcome to join her as she dishes on what the life of a drag performer is like and maybe pick up a few tips on make-up and costumes! Giganta Smalls is the largest drag queen in captivity and is ready to take the world by storm! Based out of the forests of Connecticut, she lights up the stage with her quirky personality and charming performances.

The Rowley Public Library website provides the same information and adds the event is “sponsored by the Rowley Public Library, Haverhill Public Library, Wilmington Memorial Library.”

An ”FAQ” from the Bigelow Free Public Library (BFPL) regarding the “Dishing Out Drag” program describes it as “a virtual program designed for teens between the ages of 13 and 18 who have an interest in the world of drag.”

“Parents/caregivers are invited to attend,” the FAQ adds, noting that “[s]hows like Ru Paul’s Drag Race have helped to give drag queens a platform and as a result, many teens have taken an interest.”

“During this program, Giganta Smalls will present an inside view into the life of a drag queen (how she became interested in it, what the process of applying make-up and the costume is like, and how it has helped her become more confident),” the document states.

BFPL explains it is presenting “Dishing Out Drag” because the library “provides programs and resources for the entire community,” and that the library said it believes this program is “age-appropriate” for teens “who have expressed an interest in drag queens.”

The Bigelow library, which stresses the program is not funded by “tax dollars,” but via a “discretionary fund” from the Rowley Public Library, rationalizes the program further:

Most children naturally explore gender identity and gender norms through imaginative play. A program like Dishing Out Drag teaches teens to follow whatever passions may interest them, while embracing gender diversity and expression both in themselves and in others. This education helps to curb bullying of LGBTQ kids and other children who may be perceived as different.

“Children and teens have a lot in common with drag queens,” the Bigelow library continues. “They may love to dress up and use their imaginations to create awesome looks, and to express different sides of themselves.”

The library attempts to liken sexualized drag queen performances to teens dressing up as their “favorite character” at “Comic Cons” events.

“Self-expression is very important to the social and emotional development of teens and children,” the library justifies its drag queen program, and further dismisses as a “harmful stereotype that perpetuates homophobia and transphobia” the idea that drag queen performers could also be “pedophiles or groomers.”

Despite its claim drag queens are not “pedophiles or groomers,” the library makes an effort to provide further assurance that the program will be “safe” for the young teens attending by emphasizing:

[T]his program has built in security to make sure that all participants are safe from harm, regardless of the fact that it is virtual. Our Zoom will have cameras and microphones off for the teens, the chat will be closed, and all Q&A will be moderated by librarians. The attendees will never have any direct contact with Giganta Smalls.

Ayer Public Library posted its registration form for the event as well.

In April 2022, the American Library Association (ALA) elected Emily Drabinski, a self-described “Marxist lesbian,” as its president after the organization had been promoting Drag Queen Story Hours for young children and had bestowed awards on books containing explicit descriptions of sexual behavior for children as young as 12 years old.

Drabinski states on her website that she “edits Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies, a book series from Library Juice Press/Litwin Books, and is a contributing writer at Truthout, where her latest piece focuses on how the left’s claim of “book bans” is “mobilizing a new generation of student activists.”

“So many of us find ourselves at the ends of our worlds,” ALA President Drabinski claimed during her campaign.

“The consequences of decades of unchecked climate change, class war, white supremacy, and imperialism have led us here,” she said.

“If we want a world that includes public goods like the library, we must organize our collective power and wield it,” Drabinski said, adding:

Social and economic justice and racial equity requires that we make a material difference in the lives of library workers and patrons who have for too long been denied power and opportunity on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, national origin, spoken language, and disability.

“As ALA president, I will direct resources and opportunities to a diverse cross section of the association and advance a public agenda that puts organizing for justice at the center of library work,” Drabinski said.

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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Drag Queen Putting on Makeup” by Alexander Grey.