The New York City Department of Education and PBS have recently featured a segment called “Drag Queen Story Hour.”
Pink News, a brand for the LGBT+ community, reported that the segment featured Little Miss Hot Mess, a drag queen who authored the book The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish. During the segment, Little Miss Hot Mess sang the title of the book to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus” while dancing around, asking the audience to join.
Little Miss Hot Mess commented after the dance, “I think we might have some drag queens in training on our hands.”
The segment is part of a program called “Let’s Learn,” which is an online learning supplement for children aged 3-8, as Newsweek shared. The program is produced by WNET, which is a PBS station for New York City.
Little Miss Hot Mess told the virtual audience, “I wrote this book because I wanted everyone to get to experience the magic of drag and to get a little practice shaking their hips or shimmying their shoulders to know how we can feel fabulous inside of our own bodies.”
The online segment has received mixed reviews.
Newsweek disclosed thoughts from Tricia Flanagan, a Republican who ran for Senate in New Jersey in 2020, but lost. She said, “If American tax dollars can be used to pay for 3-8-year-olds to watch this PBS Drag Queen Story hour, then I demand equal tax dollars go to also read them Bible stories.”
PopCulture included some Twitter conversations about the show. One user said it was “so outrageously inappropriate,” while another commented, “this filth being pushed at children must be stopped.”
After the critique, PBS informed Fox News that “Let’s Learn” was “not funded or distributed by PBS.” It is a program specific to WNET.
WNET representative, Lindsey Horvitz, defended the segment. She told Fox News that “Let’s Learn storybooks are selected by early literacy experts at the New York City Department of Education. The program strives to incorporate themes that explore diversity and promote inclusivity, which are relevant to education and society.”
Horvitz continued, “Drag is a performance art that can inspire creative thinking and the questioning of stereotypes. Lil Miss Hot Mess is the author of the book, The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish. She serves on the global leadership team of Drag Queen Story Hour and has hosted readings at numerous libraries, children’s museums and schools across the country.”
PopCulture added thoughts from a Twitter user that replied to criticism toward the show. The user said, “I reckon its better that we hide gender and sexual diversity from children so they can live for years not understanding their own feelings and suffer the psychological damage that goes with such repression alone.” That user continued, “we need openness about the many aspects of humanity to be available in the public conscience (rather than it being hushed whispers).”
Responding to critics, Little Miss Hot Mess told Newsweek, “If people don’t like it, they can change the channel, but I’m not going to let them rain on my parade.”
Here at NWEF, we understand you want what’s best for your children. As a parent and the person who is primarily responsible for what your children watch, how do you feel about this program?