See the Lesson Plan for DRAG QUEEN STORY HOUR

In 1996 gender identity was not an issue in our schools. The subject wouldn’t become an issue until after I retired in 2007. Back in the 90’s, my contribution to promoting non-binary gender roles came as a drama teacher. I constructed plays that afforded equal opportunities for casting boys and girls. For example, in our version of “Br’er Rabbit,” Betsy M. was the most feisty actor— so I re-wrote our leading character as Sistuh Rabbit.” 

Kids would typically perform an exercise acting out a king or queen. When Roberto T asked if he could play a queen, my spontaneous response was, “Of course! You’re an ACTOR.”

(The word “Actress” was becoming quaint even then.)

I expect today I would be teaching more kids like Roberto and Betsy. Nowadays I would be encouraging all young actors to try both kingly and queenly roles. How it felt to play each gender would make for a very good discussion.

Parents can ask one simple question about what their kids are learning: How does this activity further a learning standard in the curriculum?”  

“Story Hour” has long been a popular method to demonstrate skills of spoken English by reading stories out loud. Such skills are articulated in the Language Arts Florida Standards (LAFS) 




Read with sufficient fluency to support comprehension.

a. Read with purpose and understanding.

b. Read with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression.

Teachers demonstrate these skills to their students when they read a story out loud. Later, in various groupings, the students will emulate for each other the oral reading skills presented by their teacher.

A long held rule for reading a story out loud to children is that the children’s attention should be focused on the story and the words of the story— and not on the personality, mannerisms nor costume of the reader.

In other words, the children should be focused on comprehending the language of the story— and not in comprehending the storyteller.

This does not exclude a non-binary member of our community from reading out loud to children. But he, she or they— as any visitor from the outside— should be conservatively and inconspicuously dressed, and coached by me beforehand in the speaking and reading standards I am teaching.

After our guest left, I would hear what the children thought of the story. Then I would encourage them to articulate their observations about our guest. If they were to raise the issue of gender, I would frame their remarks in context of “the diversity of people living in our community” or “our neighbors.” Florida’s Social Studies curriculum teaches that “United States citizens have guaranteed rights.” (SS.2.C.2)

Ask to see your teacher’s lesson plan for Drag Queen Story Hour.

The clarity, specificity and citation of learning standards in the written lesson plans will provide evidence of whether your teacher’s intention was to educate your children— or to indoctrinate them.

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