'˜Bring drag queens to primary schools to challenge stereotypes'

Bringing drag queens into Scotland's schools for story hours with pupils could be an ideal way to challenge gender stereotypes, the head of a leading Scottish inclusion group has said.

Friday, 7th July 2017, 2:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:53 am
A drag queen called Tormenta takes part in the 17th annual gay pride parade in Chile. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

Drag Queen Story Hour, an initiative gathering momentum in the US is coming to Britain with schemes being developed in Birmingham and Bristol.

Jordan Daly of TIE, (Time for Inclusive Education), the campaign group aiming to tackle prejudices around LGBT issues in Scotland’s schools, says drag queens are a “fun and energetic” way to challenge gender stereotypes, as long as they are age and stage appropriate for pupils.

Spearheaded by Bristol law student, the scheme involves drag queens reading from a book they enjoyed as children, followed by a song with a drag twist and a reading from a feminist fairy tale such as The Boy Princess.

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Other examples include the song ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ tweaked to include the words “the skirt on the drag queen goes: swish, swish, swish.”

“With a campaign like our where the issue can be controversial you have to be provocative, quite blunt and in your face.

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“For people like us who are campaigning on LGBT issues the concept of a drag queen is not controversial.

“But I can see how it could be provocative or controversial for some people.”

Mr Daly added: “Using drag queens like this is a fun and colourful way of challenging rigid gender stereotypes.

Mick Connell, of the National Association for the Teaching of English, said he welcomes the initiative but says it is hard to predict how schools will react to it.

Drag Queen Story hour originated in San Francisco and has had many positive reviews from parents.

The Scottish Government and the Educational Institute of Scotland have been approached for comment.