A Missouri Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill to limit the phenomenon of "drag queen story hours" in public libraries, events the legislator called "age-inappropriate."
The story hours, which have risen in popularity across the country in recent months, generally feature gay men dressed up as caricatures of women reading stories to very young children. The events have generated controversy for, in one case, allowing a convicted child molester to read stories to children, and in another case permitting children to lie on top of a drag queen for reasons unknown.
The bill, titled the Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act and advanced by state Rep. Ben Baker (R-160), would order each library to establish a "parental library review board" that would determine, via public hearings and citizen petitions, "whether any sexual material provided to the public by the public library is age-inappropriate sexual material." The board would then be permitted to order the removal of that material from the library.
"In some places -- St. Louis, Kansas City and I think St. (Joseph) -- they've had these drag queen story hours and that's something that I take objection to and I think a lot of parents do. That's where in a public space, our kids could be exposed to something that's age-inappropriate. That's what I'm trying to tackle.
I don't think a 2-, 3-, 4-year-old is prepared to grapple with those ideas and I don't think they should be subjected to that just by walking through the library."