Drag Queen Story Hour: its subversive origins and hideous agenda

When Western nations legalised same-sex marriage in the mid-2010s, few people were expecting a deluge of drag queens to follow — but somehow, that is what we got.

Now drag queens are everywhere: in city libraries, at K-12 schools, in parades, and just in case you can’t escape them elsewhere, on airlines. If you criticise this bizarre modern ritual, watch out — you might be fired, as happened to one unsuspecting UK university lecturer.

Apparently, like the smart phone, microplastics or the nanny state, drag queens are just part of what it means to live in the modern world, and you will enjoy them.

But why? Who said so? From whence came this sexual sacrament? And what is its intended purpose?

An insightful new mini-documentary by Christopher Rufo — the investigative journalist who’s been kicking goals against critical race theory and woke-addled institutions like Disney and Harvard — provides some compelling, if frightful, answers.

Rufo traces the curious history of the drag queen movement to its apex in Drag Queen Story Hour — a ritual designed specifically to subvert children. What he reveals is hideous, but for the sake of our decaying culture and the safety and integrity of the next generation, the truths he exposes desperately need the disinfectant of sunlight.

Rufo begins by acknowledging that “men dressing up as women has a long history” — whether in “Shakespeare’s England, where men played all the parts, including those of women”, or the pantomime dames of following centuries who “entertained audiences with absurd performances”.

The next development, while slightly more bizarre, still existed on the margins and did not enter the mainstream consciousness. It involved a freed Black slave named William Dorsey Swann who called himself the “queen of drag”, and who “dressed in women’s dresses and was arrested for running a brothel in Washington, D.C. in 1896”. Though Swann’s behaviour was “outlandish for the time”, explains Rufo, “he saw himself as a sensualist, not an activist — an orientation that continued in the drag scene for more than 70 years”.


It was in connection with the Stonewall riots of 1969 that “drag suddenly became political”. Explains Rufo:

In the aftermath of these events, Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson — two drag queens who participated in the riot — founded a group called the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, or STAR. Their manifesto demanded “the right to self-determination over the use of their bodies; the right to be gay, anytime, anyplace; the right to free physiological change and modification of sex on demand”.

More than just entertainment, drag was now a political ideology that “sought the destruction of bourgeois norms”. Rufo quotes counterculture writer Daniel Harris who explains that the “aesthetic of drag” was captured by gay men who “used their costumes to reevaluate the whole concept of normality and thus carry out a crucial part of the cross-dresser’s agenda: revenge”.

Rufo continues:

The transgression was the point. The modern drag queens were no longer private libertines or pantomime dames. They were left-wing revolutionaries who wanted to overthrow the system through sex. As Harris described it, “Men now wear such sexually explicit outfits as ball gowns with prosthetic breasts sewn on to the outside of dresses, black nighties with gigantic strap-on dildos, and transparent vinyl mini-skirts that reveal lacy panties with strategic rips and telltale stains suggestive of deflowerment.”

Now that drag had become a political weapon, it needed intellectual foundations. Enter lesbian theorist Gayle Rubin, the infamous founder of queer theory. “Rubin wanted sexual revolutionaries such as drag queens to disorder public sexuality,” Rufo commentates — “and pave the way for liberating fetishists, transsexuals, sadomasochists, prostitutes and pedophiles — yes, pedophiles.” Leaving no room for doubt, Rufo clarifies that “Rubin denounced fears of child sex abuse as ‘erotic hysteria’, railed against anti-child porn laws, and argued for normalising the behaviour of those whose eroticism transgresses generational boundaries, or in her words, ‘boylovers’.”

The other academic cited by Rufo is Judith Butler, who “took the basic insights of queer theory and supercharged them with postmodernism”. He explains that Butler:

made an elaborate theoretical case for treating drag queens as the vanguard of the sexual revolution. She argued that all sexuality was a social construct that could be reshaped through performativity. Since there is nothing essential about concepts such as man, woman or sex, Butler claimed, all of these categories could be subverted and redefined through new performances, and drag queens were the perfect vehicle for this subversion.


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It was in 2015 that a Los Angeles-based queer activist named Michelle Tea took all of the ideological pieces and combined them into the “brilliant political move” that was Drag Queen Story Hour: “a ‘family-friendly” way to educate children in tolerance, literacy and gender expression”. Rufo describes the ascendency of this project as it expanded across the United States “from coast to coast”:

The political left rallied to [Tea’s] support. The government of New York City subsidised dozens of Drag Queen Story Hours in the city’s public schools. The Attorney General of Michigan called for “a drag queen for every school”. And California state senator Scott Wiener even suggested legislation to offer “Drag Queen 101” as part of the K through 12 curriculum.

Calculated indoctrination

Rufo’s most chilling revelation is what he calls “the real nature of Drag Queen Story Hour”, as articulated by gender queer academic and drag queen Harris Kornstein. According to Rufo, Kornstein “co-wrote the movement’s defining manifesto, ‘Drag Pedagogy: The Playful Practice of Queer Imagination in Early Childhood’, that lays out the movement’s plan in shockingly honest language”:

Citing Judith Butler and other queer theorists, Kornstein argues that drag queens can teach kids “how to live queerly” and to bring “queer ways of knowing and being into the education of young children”. But the real task, according to Kornstein, is to disrupt the “binary between womanhood and manhood”, seed the room with “gender-transgressive themes,” and break the “reproductive futurity” of the “nuclear family” and the “sexually monogamous marriage”.

“Yes,” warns Rufo, Drag Queen Story Hour is “also about sex”. He goes on:

Kornstein fills his paper with double entendres and erotic language, blurring the lines between adult sexuality and childhood innocence. He describes Drag Queen Story Hour as a “site of queer pleasure” that promises to “turn rejection into desire”, to transform the “labour of performance into the pleasure of participation”, and to create a “queer relationality between adult and child”. Like the queer theorists before them, the modern drag activists used their newfound power to flirt with the ultimate sexual transgression.

It is remarkable just how successful Drag Queen Story Hour has been — not just in the United States but now across the Anglosphere. “They have seduced the media and secured the patronage of governments, philanthropies and other elite institutions,” says Rufo.

However, what they cannot hide, he concludes, is that “these are adult male transvestites who want to share their sexuality with children”. “They can conceal their activities with makeup and marketing language, but the subculture of queer theory has always attracted men who want to take the ideology to its hideous conclusion.”

No mere speculation, Rufo confirms that this is already taking place:

In Minneapolis, a dry green in heels and a pink miniskirt spreads his legs open in front of children. In Portland, a large male transvestite allows toddlers to climb on top of him, grab at his fake breasts and press themselves against his body. In Miami, a man with enormous fake breasts and dollar bills stuffed into his g-string grabs the hand of a preschool-aged girl and struts her in front of the crowd. And still others have gone further. They have committed the most heinous crimes and have used Drug Queen Story Hour to to gain access to kids.

Where to from here? Rufo vows that a reckoning is coming. “Once the public has understood the true nature of Drag Queen Story Hour, the only way forward is to quickly restore the limits that have been recklessly abandoned and to send the perversions of queer theory back to the margins.”

Watch the full documentary, ‘The Real Story Behind Drag Queen Story Hour’ here.

Kurt Mahlburg is a writer and author, and an emerging Australian voice on culture and the Christian faith. He has a passion for both the philosophical and the personal, drawing on his background as a graduate architect, a primary school teacher, a missionary, and a young adult pastor.

Image: cartoon by Brian Doyle


Showing 15 reactions

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  • Julian Cheslow
    commented 2024-02-05 06:13:27 +1100
    *any charges or records. Obviously if someone has a record I wouldn’t support them doing this. But I don’t see evidence that a large majority of the Drag Queens doing this are molesters. And if you are calling to shut it down universally I need evidence of that.
  • Julian Cheslow
    commented 2024-02-05 06:04:36 +1100
    I am pretty active on Twitter and other social media where I I interact with many other LGBT people and I have never seen Rufo, and especially not the section quoted here. If anything most are more vigilant over age gaps, not less.

    Also to this day I have only read 1 case of a drag queen who has been involved with a storytime having another charges of records of child molestation/grooming. Meanwhile I don’t see other institutions like the church which have had records of it called to have less interaction with children.

    The focus on drag queen story hour’s as a universal threat to children feels motivated more by feelings rather then facts.
  • mrscracker
    Just to mention that I was present at a public meeting several years ago when this subject came up before local authorities. One of the young men who wanted to perform in costume at the library’s story time stated that he & his fellow performers were “grooming the next generation.” I don’t know what his intentions were behind that public comment, but it certainly didn’t do anything to relieve parents’ worries about their preschool child’s welfare.
    You know, we need more volunteers at places like libraries & if these young men came in street attire to read to preschool children no one would mind in the least. They’d be commended for donating their time. But performing in risqué nightclub costumes for Pre-K children is a different matter.
  • Kurt Mahlburg
    commented 2024-01-28 06:50:43 +1100
    Hi Steven, this will be my last reply on this post. You initially demanded evidence that the drag queen phenomenon was self-consciously normalising pedophilia. When I provided this evidence you waved it off as no big deal, even though Gayle Rubin is the credited as the founder of Queer Theory. Talk about shifting the goal posts. Now you have demanded proof the the drag queens at libraries are on board with this agenda. Will you shrug at this list of cases or actually take them seriously?






    It’s easy enough to dismiss the most hysterical conservative voices declaring that the sexual apocalypse is here. But what about the sober warnings of more reasoned conservative voices who have been proven right time and time again?
  • Steven Meyer
    commented 2024-01-27 15:42:12 +1100
    Oops, sorry, again, forgot capitalisation => new line.

    But, seriously, just stop and think.

    Do you really believe there is some sort of Great Drag Queen conspiracy to normalise paedophilia?

    Have any of you spoken to any actual drag queens about this?
  • Steven Meyer
    commented 2024-01-27 15:27:52 +1100
    OK I risked what’s left of my ageing brain and watched this drivel – at 1.5X

    So some guys called Rubin & Kornstein came up with some flapdoodle. So what?

    Can you provide ANY evidence that actual drag queens, the ones telling stories in libraries, are on board with this agenda?

    That they’re setting out to normalise paedophilia?

    There are conspiracy theories about Catholics, Jews, Muslim etc. But most actual Catholics, Jews & Muslims are not part of any conspiracy. I’m pretty sure the same applies to drag queens.

    At any rate there’s nothing I saw at our library that could be remotely interpreted as trying to normalise paedophilia. I think you’re letting your imaginations run away with you.

    I’m 78. I’ve lived through:

    —Reds under the bed,

    —The domino theory – if the communists get Vietnam we’re doomed

    —The yellow peril / Asian hoards

    —Die Roomse Gevaar (Afrikaans for the Catholic Peril)

    —Sharia law being introduced into western country,

    —Jews trying to take over the world

    —The Great Replacement Theory – Jews trying to replace good white Christians with brown barbarians

    And now the Great Drag Queen Conspiracy!

    Don’t you guys ever stop?
  • Kurt Mahlburg
    commented 2024-01-27 14:13:54 +1100
    Hi Steven. The proof you’re after is the documentary you didn’t watch in the post above. See the segment on Gayle Rubin. Google her name along with the search term “pedophilia”. You’re welcome.
  • Steven Meyer
    commented 2024-01-27 13:21:51 +1100
    “The real reason for the so called Drag Queens is the goal of the normalisation of paedophilia”

    Are you guys serious?

    You think this is some deep plot to normalise paedophilia?

    Do you have any evidence for this?

    Can you explain how drag queens telling stories can normalise paedophilia?

    To me this sounds like a lot of whack-a-doodle-doo.

    I happened to see a drag queen telling a story at our local library. Looked like innocent fun. You’d have a have a really vivid imagination to see any normalising of paedophilia going on.

    I simply cannot understand what it is about drag queens that triggers you religios so much.
  • Kurt Mahlburg
    commented 2024-01-27 13:04:33 +1100
    Too right about “Drag Kings” John. And I fear you could be right about our leaders. On the bright side, they can only hide for so long.
  • John Fannon
    commented 2024-01-26 22:52:42 +1100
    Strange that you never have Drag Kings – women posing as males in front of children. The real reason for the so called Drag Queens is the goal of the normalisation of paedophilia. The useful idiots in Government who support this must have the same predilections themselves. We have come a long way from the UK decriminalisation of sodomy in the 1960’s which legislated only for consenting adults in private.
  • Steven Meyer
    commented 2024-01-26 16:12:34 +1100
    Kurt, I too don’t take the whole identity politics drivel seriously whether it be from the left or, as is more frequently the case, from the right.

    I also don’t take the drag queen “threat” seriously.
  • Kurt Mahlburg
    commented 2024-01-26 13:54:38 +1100
    Steven, you must have missed that my “white adjacent” quip in that Christmas article was sarcastic. I don’t believe the Left’s identity politics drivel — I mock it. Kind regards.
  • Steven Meyer
    commented 2024-01-26 13:40:55 +1100
    Does it make a difference if the drag queen is “white adjacent”?

    I still can’t get over “white-adjacent” Jesus. It’s my nomination for Freudian slip of the year.

    On a more serious note, drag queens don’t make the cut for my list of 1,000 civilisational threats.

    Just another bogeyman for people who enjoy moral panics.
  • Kurt Mahlburg
    commented 2024-01-25 23:47:03 +1100
    Thanks Janet, it’s a great video. I have signed the petition :)
  • Janet Grevillea
    Thank you for this outline of the origins and purpose of drag queen story hour. The short video is well worth watching.
    The State Library of Victoria is offering drag queen story hour for kids as part of its “LGBTIQ+” Midsumma Festival. In fact it is the TQ Midsumma Festival, with the emphasis on queer. There is a petition about it at https://citizengo.org/en-au/fm/212807-drag-queens-arent-kids?fbclid=IwAR2vUQoP_2J6Qxtej4-0shDQRsQJIlYYxdMj6LDP6Aq91_d2t9oSGGWUVfw