Calgary Library treats kids to drag king and queen story time
Kids at Calgary Public Library will get the royal treatment with a new story time program.
|Report an Error|
Share via Email
Redefining the definition of Kings and Queens, the Calgary Public Library is launching a reading series that is fiercely drag – but definitely not a bore.
It's called Reading WIth Royalty, and it's launching this weekend in partnership with Calgary Pride and the Fairy Tales Presentation Society. Story times will run once a month throughout 2018.
The 30 minute program will encourage kids to see past gender norms by hearing songs and stories from drag kings and queens. With sprinkles of glitter, glamour and glitz children and their parents will be invited to dress up and participate.
Laurissa Chapple is executive director with Calgary Pride and will be reading as Prince Parker. They explained that drag is a hyper presentation of gender for the purposes of entertainment, and they want to make sure as conversations about gender expression become more prevalent that kids have an opportunity for children to participate.
"When you think of a King or Queen you think over the top clothing, you think sparkles, rhinestones, capes," they said. "Drag falls in line with that hyper-presentation."
At the Library, while speaking to Metro, Parker's sparkly moustache draws some attention. It's not like being in a dark bar. In the middle of the Central Library lobby the makeup and artistry behind this drag performance is in plain sight.
But Chapple says dressing up as another gender isn't unlike being a witch or wizard for Halloween, it's a choice and expression.
"As a parent myself, I try very hard to ensure that my children are equipped with the tools (to be accepting)," they said.
Chapple said it's going to be a venue where parents may be able to pick up tools and equip themselves and their kids with the idea of acceptance, diversity and inclusion – even if those topics may be hard for some.
Kristen Duke, service design lead at Calgary Public Library, said there's a lot of excitement for the story time programming, which will continue through 2018. And there are plans to continue the program throughout the year.
"Gender is something we feel, interpret and express," Chapple said. "As Bill C-16 passed last year it was really important to make sure we're providing opportunities for people to feel good, including children, to explore themselves and the idea of gender."
Chapple said having drag kings and queens read to kids started in New York, but Calgary had its own story time moment in 2017 with Calgary Pride. It was a huge success, and they approached the Calgary Public Library to keep the project going.
Duke explains the library wanted to take an opportunity with this program to fulfill part of its mandate: to provide spaces for all races, cultural backgrounds, sexual preference and socio-economic class or any other identifiers.
"This is another great and fun opportunity to bring families in to be learners together and to support members in our community," Duke said.
Duke said based on the interest, they're seeing a wide range of participants including millennials who want to see the drag stories in action. And Chapple said since they announced their partnership with the library there's been interest from churches, schools, community centres to have their very own story times.