In some form or fashion drag has been a part of world culture for eons. In American culture – and especially American Queer culture – evidence of it shows up as early as the 1800s. You’d think everyone would have gotten use to it by now, but the smallish Charlotte suburb of Monroe just reminded us there’s still plenty of ignorance, intolerance and old fashion bigotry out there when they attempted to put a stop to Union County Pride’s Drag Queen Story presentation. Despite their desires, they were informed by city attorneys they couldn’t because it didn’t violate any laws.
In an effort to make their wishes known and what clearly reads like a thinly veiled threat for Union County Pride 2023, the town council issued a resolution September 14, which contained the following words:
“WHEREAS, a portion of the Festival at Belk Tonawanda Park will include a Drag Queen Story Hour where children may be present; and … members of the City Council are concerned about the potential impact of Drag Queen Story Hour on children; and … the laws of the State of North Carolina and the United States protect free expression and freedom of speech, but in some cases do not strike a balance between freedom and the need to protect our children; and the City Council acknowledges that it cannot at this time, stop Drag Queen Story Hour from taking place … BE IT RESOLVED, that the … Council … expresses that it does not support the Drag Queen Story Hour … is concerned about the potential impact of Drag Queen Story Hour on children … [and] requests that Union County Pride voluntarily considers limiting attendance at Drag Queen Story Hour to those of eighteen (18) years of age and above.”
Union County Pride wasted no time in responding to the resolution with their own community statement:
“…Union County Pride, Inc. appreciates the thorough, courteous and professional way in which staff and officials from the City of Monroe have worked … to ensure that the events are safe and accessible for all participants. However … the Monroe City Council meeting voted to request restrict[ion of] one planned event – the Drag Queen Story Hour & Crafts – only to persons aged 18 and older…”
“As parents, family members, and community members, we would not do anything to harm children. Contrary to the apparent misconceptions and concerns of the Council members, the Drag Queen Story Hour & Crafts event is not sexually-oriented or sexually suggestive. The event is designed for, and will be attended by, children and their parents together. Through diverse and culturally-inclusive children’s books, [it] will affirm all children and families …”
Based on social media response, the event took place as planned, with a high level of success and scant protesting. Drag Queen and King story tellers reportedly included Stormy Daie, Onya Nerves, Karen Affection and King Del Sol.
While no further comments have been made regarding the Drag Queen Story Hour event by the town of Monroe, the highlighted portions of the story give cause for pause: will Monroe draw a line in the sand over Drag Queen Story Hour when it comes time to issue permits for Union County Pride ’23?