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New York City has provided more than $200,000 in public funds over the past five years for drag queens to enter classrooms and interact with school children as young as 3, according to a report.
The nonprofit Drag Story Hour NYC, formerly known as Drag Queen Story Hour NYC, has received approximately $207,000 in taxpayer funding since 2018, the New York Post reported, citing city records. .
The total includes a $50,000 contribution from New York State through its Arts Council, as well as $157,000 from New York’s Departments of Education, Cultural Affairs, Youth and Community Development. New York City, and even the Department of Transportation, according to the Post.
Records show the nonprofit received $46,000 in city contracts for appearances at public schools, street festivals and libraries in May alone ahead of Pride Month.
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The events involve cross-dressing artists who read to schoolchildren in public schools, libraries and other LGBTQ centers, but have expanded to include coloring activities as well. The photos show drag performers also teaching children in classrooms how to apply drag makeup.
According to a nonprofit shared online reading list, artists read a variety of books ranging from classics like “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “The Rainbow Fish,” which cover topics like growing up, accepting and diversity, to others more openly. discuss gender identity, such as “The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish Swish Swish” and “The Dragtivity Book”.
According to its website, Drag Story Hour NYC has produced 49 Drag Story Hour programs for 34 public schools and special schools in English, Spanish and Cantonese so far this year.
“It costs us $600 to produce each DSH program, but we only charge public schools $300 per program, and we offer a limited number of free programs for schools that cannot afford the fees,” according to the website. , which asks for donations. .
“Last year we received $3,900 from the New York City Department of Education to subsidize our free and low-cost programs in public schools. This year we did not receive that funding and had to stop offering programs at our subsidized rate towards the end of the school year. This Pride month, we are aiming to raise $6,000 so that we can continue to offer free and low-cost programs for public schools this fall.
Some parents who spoke to the Post said they were given advance notice of drag events at their children’s schools, but weren’t given the opportunity to opt out, while other parents said that they had received no notice at all and only learned of the events afterwards. .
Reached by the Post, the New York City Department of Education defended the program as “saving lives”.
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“Last year, 50 transgender or gender non-conforming people were killed in the United States because of their identity,” said DOE spokeswoman Suzan Sumer. “We believe our schools play a vital role in helping young people discover and respect people who may be different from them.”