For most girls, there’s nothing worse than showing up to a party to find your outfit matches someone else’s.
But at Drag Queen Story Hour, there’s no shame in donning the same purple sparkles as storyteller Tree Empress 45 Onalicious Mercury. Just ask 7-year-old Nevele Martin, who wore her most sequined, feathery, royal purple dress for the Sunday story hour at the Vancouver Community Library’s Columbia Room.
“Their dresses are so pretty,” said the wide-eyed girl, gazing at the bedazzling queen.
Drag Queen Story Hour is an international event started by RADAR Productions, a San Francisco-based queer literary arts organization. Libraries across the world have hosted storytellers in drag. More than 100 people packed the Vancouver Community Library for its second Drag Queen Story Hour to dance, sing, craft and, of course, listen to Onalicious read stories.
“You can be anything you want,” Onalicious told the children at one point. “I’m a drag queen.”
But where performers have gone, controversy has followed. A cluster of protesters including Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, gathered in front of the library to protest the event. They were challenged by black-clad counterprotesters, but it was a mostly civil demonstration.