By Theresa Opeka
RALEIGH – An event billed as “a drag queen story hour” for children as young as two at the North Carolina Museum of Art and funded in part by taxpayer dollars, has reportedly been canceled amid community protest.
“Artful Story Time” was brought to light nationally with posts on Twitter and national radio shows. The original post by the NCMA, which has since been removed, said it was to be “a lively story time inspired by art and children’s books” and was being presented by Stormie Daie, one of the drag queens from the House of Coxx, in Durham.
The description of the story hour continues by saying it “captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive and unabashedly queer role models.
The museum said that kids can “see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real.”
The museum has received backlash on its Twitter page for the scheduling of the event.
It’s unclear as to when the exact date of the event was to take place. However, the museum has hosted events like this in the past, including one in April, with Daie, and another in June that was billed as “Story Time in the Garden.”
Karlie Marlowe, director of marketing and communications for the museum, said in an emailed statement to Carolina Journal that it was not a scheduled event. When CJ followed up by asking if the event was canceled, there was no further response from Marlowe by the time of the publication of this article.
In an emailed statement to Carolina Journal, House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, said the event was canceled and removed from the museum’s website thanks to the outcry from parents.
“I am appalled that the NC Museum of Art would host a “Drag Queen Story Hour” promoted to children as young as two years old,” Moore said. “The sexualization of young children is unacceptable, and parents will not stand for it.”
After noting the event’s cancelation, Moore stated that if such events become a trend, he will take action to ensure tax dollars are not used for such events.
Almost $20 million was allocated to the museum in the North Carolina General Assembly Final Conference Budget for the Fiscal Year 2021-22.
Drag queen story hours have created recent controversy across North Carolina and nationwide, including one initially canceled in June by the Apex Festival Commission as part of the Apex Pride Festival but was later reinstated after another group stepped in to support it.