Harmonica Sunbeam Is An Amazing Storyteller! Image Credit: Staten Islander

Drag Queen Story Hour At the Tompkins Square Library: An Adventure In Learning What Matters Most

Tompkins Square Park Entrance. We Found A Space Right Here. Image Credit: SI News Org

Tompkins Square Park Entrance. We Found A Space Right Here. Image Credit: SI News Org

Driving into the city (Manhattan to those not living in Brooklyn or Staten Island) was a breeze, unlike usual. There was little traffic on the roads, and the sun shone brightly through patches of thin clouds. Feeling amazing from the crisp, cool December air, along with having just showered and scrubbed my skin clean, I didn’t mind that my pony-tailed hair was still sopping wet. Getting up early on a Saturday had been my ritual for longer than I can recall; only recently had I stopped, and it felt good to be out and about on the weekend during morning hours once again. Sleeping in is great; sleeping in doesn’t make us grow or provide enriching experience.

Placard on Tompkins Square Park NYPL Branch. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Placard on Tompkins Square Park NYPL Branch. Image Credit: Staten Islander

We were excited. Our destination was the Tompkins Square Library for Drag Queen Story Hour, featured as part of the East Village Arts Festival, sponsored by the Office of City Council Member Carlina Rivera. Having both graduated from Fashion Institute of Technology, both myself and my co-reporter can navigate around Manhattan with our eyes closed. I insisted that she turn off Waze and navigate by sheer memory and intuition. Admittedly, the only real time spent at Tompkins Square Park was at the yearly outdoor electronic music festivals that were held back in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Unbelievably, we found a parking space on the street right outside the park; there wasn’t even a muni-meter to feed!

The Facade of The Tompkins Square Park NYPL Building. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

The Facade of The Tompkins Square Park NYPL Building. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Bundled up once again, walking around the perimeter of the park, finally we had arrived at our destination. We entered the library, a building probably constructed specifically to house books and welcome readers, judging by its typical NYPL library-like exterior architecture. The library was toasty-warm and perennially inviting. We were a half-hour early. Perusing the stacks of new arrivals and featured books on a display near the entrance, I picked up a couple of texts focusing on the East Village (which we later checked out). We began exploring. In the stairwell, we encountered the director of the library, who greeted us with a smile, asking if we wanted a tour.

Note The Over-Sized Windows On The Library. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Note The Over-Sized Windows On The Library. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

We declined, explained that we were from The Staten Islander, there to see Drag Queen Story hour with Harmonica Sunbeam. She smiled, told us we were early in her best library-voice, and led us up the stairs to the second floor, the children’s library. If ever there was a place where kids might feel welcome exploring reading, this was it. The high-ceilinged expansive room’s windows admitted ample light, a perfect place to find a book and cultivate a love for the written word on a cold December morning. And, of course, the ubiquitous category of literature that usually begins a child’s journey into reading was there in abundance: the picture book, of which there was row after row, their spines variously sized, in an array of vivid colors.

East Village Arts Festival 2019 Flyer. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

East Village Arts Festival 2019 Flyer. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Apparently, we were first to arrive for the story hour. There was a semi-circle of chairs and comfortable cushions. We chose seats in the last row, so that we did not block the view of any kids or parents with incessant raising of cameras for the requisite photos that would accompany this story. I wondered if we were going to be the sole attendees, but as the clock ticked, the seats filled quickly. If ever there would be a library that would be excited to host Drag Queen Story Hour, the flagship library of the East Village was certainly it.

Drag Queen Story Hour Cards. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Drag Queen Story Hour Cards. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Nearing 11 AM, the seats were all taken, by an assortment of parents and caregivers of every skin tone, sub-culture, gender, sexual orientation, and personal style, with their enthused kids jumping, crawling, and playing energetically around them on the rug. There was no one group that predominated. Clearly, this was an event that welcomed everyone, where inclusivity reigned.

The Stairwell On The Second Floor, The Children's Reading Room. Image Credit: StatenIslander

The Stairwell On The Second Floor, The Children’s Reading Room. Image Credit: StatenIslander

Finally, an announcement was made that the storytime would commence momentarily. Harmonica Sunbeam, wearing bright yellow hair and long lashes, lilac eye shadow, glistening pink  lipstick with magenta lip-liner,  and a hot pink My Little Pony outfit complete with a pink Jetsons-inspired padded-shoulder mock-neck top featuring a My Little Pony print with horseshoes, hearts, and stars, with yellow full-length sleeves terminating in cuffs featuring the same print, a pink skirt and leggings with My Little Pony print to match, a gigantic yellow starburst ring, large pink earrings, shiny, bright yellow boots and an ultra-wide yellow belt, looked like someone from the future, a bright future at that!

Arriving Before EVERYONE, We Chose Choice Seats. In The Back Row. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Arriving Before EVERYONE, We Chose Choice Seats. In The Back Row. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

She walked to the chair that had been set out, greeted us all with a genuine smile, and explained her preferred pronouns are “she and her.” (I don’t mind use of personalized gender pronouns, but I must admit that when meeting a group, I find it hard enough to just remember names and not botch Terri for Merry, Pat for Joe! Meeting one new person, it isn’t so difficult.) I was immediately struck by her patient, caring tone of voice and nurturing demeanor. Instantly, we felt welcome and comfortable; it would have been nearly impossible to feel otherwise.

Drag Queen Story Hour Banner with Logo. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Drag Queen Story Hour Banner with Logo. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Asking if anyone knew what drag meant, one child responded that it had to do with drag racing. Harmonica laughed, but not mockingly, as she accepted this typical child-like response, instantly showing herself to be genuinely amazing with the kids; her manner could have been a lesson to anyone studying to become an early childhood educator. One Mom added to this, stating that drag meant, “…a man or a woman who dresses up as anyone they want…”

A Few Guests Finally Arriving. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

A Few Guests Finally Arriving. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

As Harmonica Sunbeam read stories, sung songs, and shared her joy of performing as herself with the audience, even we adults lost ourselves and happily participated, feeling like kids again. Always so serious, I’m sure many other of the adults are professionals who, like myself, spend far too much time with a serious expression stamped on our faces. The experience was cathartic, life-changing, even. This was more than I had expected, though I had kept an open mind.

Announcing the DQSH Presentation to Follow. Image Credit: StatenIslander

Announcing the DQSH Presentation to Follow. Image Credit: StatenIslander

Harmonica asked if anyone had ever been shunned, not accepted. Of course, that had been my own experience countless times, for reasons that yet baffle me. Perhaps it was because I was too enthusiastic, perhaps it was because I smiled too easily, in a world of dour faces, classrooms of kids who had osmotically picked up unconscious cues that on Earth, we do not show love without reservation. I found the book an excellent story for kids who are not permitted by their peers, or society, to fit in, kids who might have gifts to contribute to this broken world who are stifled because they do not meet others’ expectations.

Harmonica Sunbeam Greets Her Guests. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Harmonica Sunbeam Greets Her Guests. Image Credit: Staten Islander

The first book read, Do Cows Meow, a lift-the-flap-book, by Salina Yoon, was a standard rhyming kids’ book, reminding children which animals make each sound. This was like books generations of children have read, from all cultures. The kids laughed along, doing their best to make animal sounds. By the end of the book, even the adults had joined in. Harmonica Sunbeam truly was an ethereal light, bringing her audience to a place where we did not care about being judged as silly or “too old.”

Bothered to Be Interrupted? No Way! Image Credit: Staten Islander

Bothered to Be Interrupted? No Way! Image Credit: Staten Islander

Neither, a children’s book by Airlie Anderson, was touching. It was about creatures who were hybrids, lost in the world of “this and that.” A bird-bunny, and other unusual characters who are “neither” flew away and found the Land of All.

While one could argue that this is about transgender/alternative gender people and gender fluidity, it also covers intersex individuals, a completely under-supported group who absolutely find our world of rigid gender roles confusing and limiting. In fact, this book is about even more than that: It’s about anyone who finds that they do not conform to our rigidly defined societal expectations.

Reading the first Storybook. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Reading the first Storybook. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

I know too well that gender role expectations elicit judgement and non-acceptance. For any male who has taught young children, been a licensed massage therapist, worked as a kids’ party entertainer, or chose a career as a doula or midwife, this book would resonate strongly. The same would be true for a female sanitation worker or firefighter, research scientist or computer programmer, or anyone else working in a setting where gender roles are fixed, strongly associated with one sex or another.

The Kids Sit and Listen. Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Kids Sit and Listen. Image Credit: Staten Islander

But like I mentioned, this isn’t just about binary gender roles and expectations. It could also be about age, race, religion, socioeconomic status, or any other label society likes to slap on us, keeping us from living a life of options we choose. It could even be about parental, familiar, or caste expectation, breaking out of the idea that “Jainie is so good at math” to become an artist, or the idea that a musician can’t love science. It breaks down the ageist idea that we should act certain ways at specific ages. Predication of people, saying “they should be that” hurts us all. Hearing Harmonica Sunbeam read this book was touching; I truly had tears in my eyes.

Such A Beautiful Morning For a Kids' Story! Image Credit: Staten Islander

Such A Beautiful Morning For a Kids’ Story! Image Credit: Staten Islander

As Harmonica Sunbeam read the books and made everyone smile and reflect, the shadows of butterflies and hearts and the colorful letters affixed to the windowpane spelling out “LGBTQ+ Pride” left dark imprints on the drawn shade behind her. On the adjacent window were shadows of two birds and this quote by Maya Angelou, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an Answer. It sings because it has a Song.” This was a most fitting backdrop for the day’s event.

Some Kids Hang Back With Caregivers, But All Enjoy the Stotytime. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Some Kids Hang Back With Caregivers, But All Enjoy the Story time. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Next came the singing of The Itsy-Bitsy Spider. Again, everyone joined in, both kids and their parents, whose reserved demeanor was breaking down by this point. Harmonica reminded us that if she could get up and be herself, in the face of a world that much of the time does not accept her, than we can all do the same. This was a valuable lesson from a strong Soul, a person who brought us all important lessons that Saturday morning.

The Kids Having Fun. Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Kids Having Fun. Image Credit: Staten Islander

A different activity followed. The kids, spilling over with excess energy from the start, marched to different places each would like to go. One child, when asked, replied that she’s like to go to the library. “OK, we won’t have to travel far for that!” Harmonica Sunbeam replied, eliciting chuckles from the parents and caregivers. Her warmth and concern for the kids’ comfort was inspiring, her laughter came so easily and from such a positive place, even this simple kids’ activity was fun for all.

The Parents Having Fun As Well. Image Credit: Staten Islander News

The Parents Having Fun As Well. Image Credit: Staten Islander News

By now, I had come to the realization that this was far more than a simple kids’ story hour, this was a Spiritual Learning, and like most deep learning experiences, it was completely unexpected. The next book was The Kindness Book by Todd Parr. And, what’s more important than kindness? And, refraining from judging others, of course? In a globe drowning in greed and selfishness, this book is an antidote for the evils of the world. From Judaism to Christianity, from Hinduism to other major world faiths, we learn that kindness is key, the hidden center of all their teachings, the inner hub that all other (peripheral) ideas revolve around, like spokes on a wheel. We must have the Inner Strength to stand up for the oppressed, always.

Reading Neither to the Rapt Audience. Image Credit: SI News Org

Reading Neither to the Rapt Audience. Image Credit: SI News Org

The book asks, “What is kindness?” This is a question we all must ponder, if we are to ever be fully realized living beings. There is no more important lesson for kids, in my estimation. If we were all kindly, we’d be living in what some call Heaven or Paradise. Instead, people judge and hate, and the world is an outward reflection of our collective inner darkness. When the kids were asked, “Does anyone know what kindness is?” one astute child answered, “sharing things.” Yes; it’s sharing things, but it’s also sharing of ourselves, from the deepest part of each of our own unique Nature, bringing to reality some pattern or song or voice the world has never yet heard, and will never hear again.

Everyone participates! image Credit: Staten Islander

Everyone participates! image Credit: Staten Islander

Harmonica Sunbeam continued reading: “Kindness is listening. Kindness is keeping others safe.” How true. How strange that a kids’ story hour quickly became something entirely more than I could explain, something far off the charts, in terms of significance. I wondered if other adults present felt likewise moved, and saw in Harmonica Sunbeam, as I did, someone who loves without limit, an example of how we should all be. I felt that the answer was a definitive, “Yes.”

Happy to Arrive in "The Land of All." Image Credit: Staten Islander News Org

Happy to Arrive in “The Land of All.” Image Credit: Staten Islander News Org

Next, Harmonica Sunbeam led the kids in a chorus of “Wheels on the Bus.” There’s a Monster In Your Book by Tom Fletcher and Greg Abbott was another children’s book read to the kids, to their delight. After this, the kids had some time for hands-on learning and doing, creating bookmarks that each designed individually, at a table behind the seating area. While the kids created, parents and kids took photos with Harmonica Sunbeam.

"Come play with us!" exclaims a character. Image Credit: Staten Islander

“Come play with us!” exclaims a character. Image Credit: Staten Islander

She was so good with the kids; even in her outrageously fabulous outfit, almost every child was comfortable with her, feeling safe and loved. I think that was also true for the adults in the audience, who for an hour, were able to feel like children again, children yet untainted by the world of rigid ideas and judgement, untroubled by feelings of having to be This or That.

"You can't be BOTH!" Image Credit: Staten Islander

“You can’t be BOTH!” Image Credit: Staten Islander

"Neither" Was Amazing. Image Credit: Staten Islander

“Neither” Was Amazing. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Lying Down, Listening. Way Better Than TV! Image Credit: Staten Islander

Lying Down, Listening. Way Better Than TV! Image Credit: Staten Islander

The Kids Are Fascinated By The Compelling Tale! Image Credit: StatenIslander

The Kids Are Fascinated By The Compelling Tale! Image Credit: StatenIslander

It's Sooo Nice Not Being Told To SIT! Image Credit: SI News Org

It’s Sooo Nice Not Being Told To SIT! Image Credit: SI News Org

The Story Draws to A Conclusion. Image Credit: SI News

The Story Draws to A Conclusion. Image Credit: SI News

Even the Parents Love This Book! Image Credit: Staten Islander News Service

Even the Parents Love This Book! Image Credit: Staten Islander News Service

Reading the Next Book. Image Credit: SI News Org

Reading the Next Book. Image Credit: SI News Org

A Monster In Your Book? Kids Today Are BRAVE! Image Credit: Si News Org

A Monster In Your Book? Kids Today Are BRAVE! Image Credit: Si News Org

Drag Queen Story Hour featuring Harmonica Sunbeam at Tompkins Square Library NYPL Branch. East Village Arts Festival. December 8th, 2019.
Image Credit: StatenIslander.org

Harmonica Sunbeam Is An Amazing Storyteller! Image Credit: Staten Islander

Harmonica Sunbeam Is An Amazing Storyteller! Image Credit: Staten Islander

Letting Everyone See, Rather Than Telling Anyone to Move. How Considerate! Image Credit: Si News Org

Letting Everyone See, Rather Than Telling Anyone to Move. How Considerate! Image Credit: Si News Org

Ms. Sunbeam Loves The Kids, Even When They Interrupt Her. Image Credit: SI News Org

Ms. Sunbeam Loves The Kids, Even When They Interrupt Her. Image Credit: SI News Org

The Colorful Stickers On The Window Spell Out LGBTQ+ & A Maya Angelou Quote. Image Credit: SI News Org

The Colorful Stickers On The Window Spell Out LGBTQ+ & A Maya Angelou Quote. Image Credit: SI News Org

Notice How the Parents Are Enraptured Like the Kids? Image Credit: SI News Org

Notice How the Parents Are Enraptured Like the Kids? Image Credit: SI News Org

Who Said Kids Have a 5 Second Attention Span?! Image Credit: SI News Organization

Who Said Kids Have a 5 Second Attention Span?! Image Credit: SI News Organization

The kids Feeling Safe. Image Credit: SI News

The Kids Feeling Safe. Image Credit: SI News

The Light Shining In. Image Credit: SI News Org

The Light Shining In. Image Credit: SI News Org

Cultivating Love For Books Is Essential. Image Credit: SI News Org

Cultivating Love For Books Is Essential. Image Credit: SI News Org

SHHH~ Look! He's Fast Asleep. Image Credit: SI News

SHHH~ Look! He’s Fast Asleep. Image Credit: SI News

The End. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

The End. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org

Finding the Next Book to Read. Image Credit: SI News

Finding the Next Book to Read. Image Credit: SI News

The Kindness Book. Really, Essential Reading For All. Image Credit: StatenIslander

The Kindness Book. Really, Essential Reading For All. Image Credit: StatenIslander

The Kids Make Bookmarks. We Want READERS! Image Credit: SI News

The Kids Make Bookmarks. We Want READERS! Image Credit: SI News

Picture Time. Such a Bright Scene! Image Credit: StatenIslander

Picture Time. Such a Bright Scene! Image Credit: StatenIslander

The Children Engrossed In Crafting Activity. Image Credit: SI News

The Children Engrossed In Crafting Activity. Image Credit: SI News

Kids Enjoying Being Active. Image Credit: SI News

Kids Enjoying Being Active. Image Credit: SI News

Taking Pics With Caregivers and Kids. Image Credit: StatenIslander

Taking Pics With Caregivers and Kids. Image Credit: StatenIslander

A Beautiful Scene, Captured For Posterity. Image Credit: SI News Org

A Beautiful Scene, Captured For Posterity. Image Credit: SI News Org

What A Latecomer to the Scene Might See. Image Credit: SI News

What A Latecomer to the Scene Might See. Image Credit: SI News

Such Positivity Is Inspiring! Image Credit: Si News

Such Positivity Is Inspiring! Image Credit: Si News

Harmonica Sunbeam Has Unlimited Patience With the Children. Image Credit: SI NEWS

Harmonica Sunbeam Has Unlimited Patience With the Children. Image Credit: SI NEWS

Greeting the Guests Who Sat In the Back. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Greeting the Guests Who Sat In the Back. Image Credit: Staten Islander

Such A Genuine Soul! Her Joy Is Impossible to Miss! Image Credit: SI News

Such A Genuine Soul! Her Joy Is Impossible to Miss! Image Credit: SI News

One of the Two Books We Were Reading Before the Story Hour Began. Image Credit: SI News

One of the Two Books We Were Reading Before the Story Hour Began. Image Credit: SI News

Group Painting, Along With A Facepainter, Follows. Image Credit: SI News

Group Painting, Along With A Facepainter, Follows. Image Credit: SI News

The Kids' Artwork. From Here, Looks Magnificent! Image Credit: SI News

The Kids’ Artwork. From Here, Looks Magnificent! Image Credit: SI News

66 Comments

  • Avatar Karen S. says:

    Incredible article! Like always, your articles are leagues better than anything else I can find on the same subject.

    I cried while I read this. I am a conservative and I never thought of this the way the author puts it.

    I was shocked to realize that as much as I try to be a good person, I am not really living up to my own standards.

    I am not gay and I know no gay people or drag queens. My religion is against this. But didn’t Jesus eat with the tax collectors? Other people his society shunned? Every thinks “What would Jesus do?” but then they act the opposite.

    I was just judging and parroting what I heard online. But when I rewatched the same videos after reading this, I understood that Harmonica Sunbeam is representing our values better than we are and some of the other conservative people seemed uninformed and downright hateful.

    Whether I agree with the lifestyle or not is not the point. My ideas haven’t changed but I see now that it’s more complex than I ever thought. I will no longer judge but rather understand that doing so makes me the opposite of who I strive to be.

    Kindness IS most important. Christians, don’t miss the point!

    • Avatar don't be fooled says:

      Don’t be taken in by this!! I implore you!! It’s just a trick of Satan!! You need to realize you are sinning if you join in this!! Be strong and remember God is a vengeful God and you will end up in hell along with them!! It isn’t hate to stand up for your values!! Some people have none!! You have to lead and be the good example!! Show me one drag queen in the Bible!! You won’t be able to!!

      • Avatar Justin says:

        My God is a loving God.

        And, what is God going to be vengeful for what, exactly?

        Teaching kids it’s OK to be an INDIVIDUAL and to be KIND to others? Teaching kids to care for others? Sorry….you’re hate’s showing.

        Get real. Harmonica Sunbeam goes in drag. SO what. That doesn’t disqualify them as a person! Or mean they can’t embody positive values.

        Christians are supposed to stand up for the downtrodden. Right? How much more downtrodden a group can you find than drag queens?

        “You have to lead and be the good example!”

        Please. Harmonica Sunbeam *IS* a good example. Can you radiate as much love and caring? Show as much patience with kids?

        “Show me one drag queen in the Bible”

        What’s your point?

  • Avatar J~E~S~S says:

    Incredible photojournalism!

    Love the pictures!

    The words aren’t too bad, either! 😉

    • Avatar Jerry Tyler says:

      Kudos to the photojournalists! You guys really captured your adventure that morning! I felt like I came along for a ride.

      The library looked so inviting. I wish I had been there. The parents and the kids all look like they had a great time

  • Avatar Judge Not says:

    Reporting at its best. I enjoyed this article and was sad when I reached the end. So many people don’t understand the plight we LGBT people face even in the 21st century. True we have come very far but not far enough. Kids need to be aware it’s OK. We don’t need more young people committing suicide because society tells them it’s wrong. Meanwhile fat cats make billions while kids and 2 working parents live out of vans. If you are straight and an ally remember that at one time Christians and Jews were persecuted. As a genderqueer female I know it’s not so easy for people outside of our world to understand but at least give it a try. No one deserves to be judged.

    • Avatar Proclaim the Word says:

      It’s b/c of ppl like u that our society is fallen. That is punishment from God for our nation’s sins. Repent and see how things change!

      • Avatar Benzie Ghosh says:

        No; it’s our economic system that creates suffering.

        It’s billionaires who don’t donate enough to what matters.

        It’s you and it’s me and it’s all of us electing a bunch of clowns to office again and again.

        It’s the fact that wages did not keep up with costs.

        It’s all that and a lot more. It’s no single factor.

        But it’s definitely not drag queens reading storybooks to kids.

  • Avatar StanTurner says:

    WT*?! I feel guilty because I kept saying how this is proof society is dying. Now I feel the opposite. If we want to remain a free nation we need to support this. Some people seem like they’d be more at home with the Ayatollahs. Go then. No one is stopping you. Just know they may not like you being a Christian.

  • Avatar Proud Womyn Who Goes by the Name of Sue says:

    As a third wave feminist lesbian from a strict Protestant background and now Buddhist, I can say I fully support #DQSH and Harmonica Sunbeam. This is great work!

    Here’s where I have an issue: Drag Queens are gender fluid. Clearly! But the trend for kids to get sex change operations is about a FIXED gender. No fluidity there. Also, kids are too young to give consent for most things, why would it be OK for a major surgery? Parents are losing their kids. I am not making this up, people.

    Also, I am proud as a womyn. A man who takes hormones is not a female. I have gay friends and friends who love drag but many of us feel the same that this is actually going to hurt drag queens, gay women, and the LGBTQAI lifestyle over time. I think it’s designed to do just that.

    AIDS didn’t work to condemn us. So now they cooked up this scheme to have kids have gender re-assignment surgery to make the world turn on us, just as we were gaining wider acceptance.

    I do not support kids mutilating themselves! That is NOT gender fluidity. It is as static and fixed as gender gets.

  • Avatar Sheila Leary says:

    I wasn’t even going to read this, but I am glad I did. I didn’t know too much about this, but there’s a lot of bad press out there. Drag Queen Story Hour is *NOT* all the things videos online claim. Harmonica Sunbeam is just wonderful with the children. She has a heart of pure gold.

    • Avatar **** Dorre HATE says:

      Have you seen many of these vids? I have. Sadly a lot of the people speaking in them are very wrong and seem to have very set ideas. First of all, look at this and all videos. Parents bring their kids to the library by choice. If it’s not part of your values to raise your kids with kindness and acceptance of others, stay home! No one’s forcing you. But one video, a preacher begins spouting out all about jeus this and Jesus that. First of all, it’s a public space. Religion isn’t appropriate. Second of all, some attendees, like the asian dude, may not be into Jesus. Third of all, he just talks over everyone. Who’s imposing, exactly? If I want my daughters to learn about Jesus I’ll send them to church. The guy’s name is Dorre Love. he comes in and interrupts parents dancing with their kids. How scandalous! “These little ones need to be raised up in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.” Does this guy even get what America is? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UO-OiGdR2Yg

  • Avatar Asezeus says:

    Shut this down. Nothing but filth. Kids don’t need to hear stories like that. And especially from a drag queen. What are we trying to teach the young these days? Write to your politicians. I pray this never comes to Staten Island because this is just vile. Stories like that confuse kids. Seeing a drag queen confuses kids. Children need to be raised with good morals. Not thinking that it is OK to be gay or trans.

    • Avatar JerryGenius says:

      “Kids don’t need to hear stories like that.”

      Stories like that? What in the world are you talking about?

      Let me guess that you’re a Christian. What in any of those stories is lacking in morals?

      Stories like that don’t confuse kids. Ignorant people like you do. I was raised a Christian but I’m now agnostic. Still, I know Christian values and they include kindness and reaching out to people. You, sir, are just a hateful person. You hide behind the cross but as I went to Sunday school I know Jesus said about people like you that you say Jesus! Jesus! but he will say he never knew you. You clearly do not know Him. As an agnostic I know I do not know. But I do know that Jesus, the Buddha, Ghandi, and others had it right.

      • Avatar VonKeef946 says:

        THE STORY PROMOTES KIDS TURNING GAY. HOW DO YOU NOT SEE THIS? KIDS SHOULD NOT BE EXPOSED TO THIS. PARENTS PROTEST THE LIBRARIES NOW.

        • Avatar Matt Mendoza says:

          Parents are the ones bringing their little ones here! If they don’t like the idea, they wouldn’t be there. You can choose to not go. Simple as that. Stop trying to decide for everyone else.

          Also, which story promotes “kids turning gay”? The truth is, none of them. The books promote nonjudgement and tolerance and self acceptance.

          Going to drag queen story time once isn’t going to destroy anyone’s soul. But hating and hating will.

          And for the record I am not gay, I am not into that lifestyle, but I see no harm in any of this. I am a Catholic and I see no issue here. Drag queens are real people just like you and me.

          Everyone has something to teach and like my own religion taught me “He who is without sin throw the first stone”. In a secular society we have to keep our faith private but we can all act the way our faiths teach us to be.

          The drag queen in this article is a good example of spreading love. Maybe according to my faith or yours he’s not perfect but am I? Are you? I’m not going to assume you have the same faith as me. But either way I disagree that kids are learning to be gay.

  • Avatar STYMIE THE HATERZ says:

    Nice. But if you’re LGBTQAI on SI…don’t expect a queen in OUR NYPL branches anytime soon!

    I like to tell my friends (I’m gay) SI is “Alabama North”

    • Avatar Dreading Monday Again says:

      My, oh my! You see the truth. I live on this island and have for six years. Absolutely not a place for people who are different in any way. Down by Bay St. it’s not like this. But I pity the poor fool who ventures deep into the South of Staten Island. There are a few gay bars out here but be careful. You may feel like you’re back in 1985.

      The #DQSH is an amazing idea! Harmonica Sunbeam can teach us all. I wish I were as good a person as she. I could never have patience with the rugrats! I don’t know HOW she does it.

  • Avatar Fabulous Nikki says:

    AB
    SO
    LUTE
    LY

    FAB
    U
    LOUS!!!

  • Avatar Jonathan Mac says:

    Not what I was expecting. A very different angle on the whole matter.

    I enjoyed the story. Keep this sort of journalism coming. We need it.

  • Avatar jamesrx says:

    Wellllllll..

    Still not convinced this is a good idea..

    Kids are impressionable..

    • Avatar 9NINJA SALLIE says:

      That’s exactly why kids need to learn to not hate when they are young. This isn’t going to ‘turn kids gay.’ I think most LGB people know you’re born that way. Drag is a costume. It’s like kabuki theatre. Is that also wrong?

  • Avatar STOP DRAG QUEENS NOW says:

    STOP Drag Queens Story Hour NOW

    No way am I OK with this. Its indoctrination of the youth.

    PARENTS: Beware of this! Don’t be deceived! This story hour is really about teaching kids to be gay.

    Conservatives please stand with me on this. Our future depends on it.

    • Avatar HANG THE TROLLS UNDER THE BRIDGE says:

      How do you teach a kid to love ******* ****? You either do or don’t. I’m gay and you couldn’t get me to want to **** a ***** no matter how hard you try to tell me how great it is. Sorry but this isn’t about making kids gay. If anything kids will want to care more about others and be more tolerant.

    • Avatar StevieReigh says:

      Look, parents are bringing their kids to see this. Don’t like it? Not your values? Don’t go.Visit the zoo instead.

      NO ONE is forced to attend.

  • Avatar Penelope PussyKAT says:

    how very sweet

    Harmonica Sunbeam is a ray of light

    don’t let the haters bring you down

  • Avatar Sammi says:

    I have to admit I was very skeptical but after seeing the video with how Harmonica Sunbeam was with the kids, my mind was changed. Someone so caring, so real, shows me that a lot of what I read and hear is not exactly true. This issue isn’t so black and white. The stories that were read to the kids are 100% legit. I can’t see how other commenters have taken issue with this. It’s ludicrous.

  • Avatar Cami Cassini says:

    Beautiful stories and beautiful storyteller. I learned something reading this article. It’s so easy to put down what you know nothing about. Be warned that there are people out there who want you to be deceived about this topic and are doing their best to spread fear and hatred.

  • Avatar ... says:

    No. Just no.

  • Dorre Love Sucks. Their video only proves the point that they are insane. Look at all the people happy, parents dancing with their kids. Nothing perverse here. Except this ”’pastor’s”’ behavior.

    Dorre Love: “this is child abuse to God…..little kids need to believe in Jesus Christ…you need to read the Bible..you need to pray”

    Drag Queen Storyteller: “I’m Jewish. I’m a Jewish person. I will read my Torah.”

    Dorre Love: “Pray to Jesus Christ when you go home…kids if you don’t want to go to hell, pray to Jesus Christ”

    hahahaha Classic. This guy is dense.

    Idiots like this make me hate religion. I have to remember that he doesn’t have a clue about his own faith and Christians are not all like this.

    • Avatar Saved By The Truth says:

      I saw the video. That made me cringe. I am Jewish and I can’t stand the proselytizing and ranting of evangelical “born again” Christians. According to them, all I have to do is “take Jesus into my heart and I’ll be saved.” Sounds too easy. I did study comparative religion at university and even Christians don’t believe that nonsense. You have to be your best as a person. There’s no shortcut to being your best.

      I worked at camp when I was a little younger. It was amazing. Nothing was like seeing the joy in kids’ faces. They were so cute.

      But I noticed something: The faces of the kids at the Christian camp I worked at. (Yes they hired a Jew. They were very fair, in their defense) But the kids all had furrowed brows and looked very unhappy. Afraid, even. Mistrustful of each other. It was scary. And saddening.

      At the non-religious camp I worked at the summer before, the kids smiled and had a great time. Way more friendly. I don’t know how healthy this is for kids to be raised that they are sinners a thousand times a day and all the talk about being saved.

    • Avatar D*** As a Dore Knob says:

      Agreed. This Dore love character is a ****. He can say all he wants, but not right there screaming and carrying on. He embarrasses me that we are of the same religion.

      But the way I practice it is different. I try to show people by my example of kindness and not by telling them their going to hell. Sheesh!