TAUNTON — Not even the organizers of Taunton’s first Drag Queen Story Hour expected the level of attention they received on Saturday, May 14. Roughly 65 to 70 people — families, parents, and children — filled the lower auditorium of the Taunton Public Library, almost exceeding capacity for that venue.
“It’s a resounding success,” exclaimed Mija Almeida, a member of the SouthCoast LGBTQ+ Network in charge of organizing and expanding programs and events into Taunton.
Despite the controversy and negativity expressed through social media in the days prior, Drag Queen Story Hour — where drag queens read heavily illustrated books to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores — happened smoothly with no issues or public uproar.
Drag queen Monica Moore read three age-appropriate stories to the children: "Worm Loves Worm," "Strictly No Elephants" and "Pete the Cat." All these stories carried messages of diversity, inclusion, and individuality.
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“I feel it’s so important for kids to grow up with and be around different types of people in the world,” said Moore, who did a good job at keeping the kids engaged and inquisitive.
In addition to stories, there were assorted arts and crafts for kids, as well as a raffle for toys at the end of storytime.
Eileen Dugas, executive director of SouthCoast LGBTQ+ Network, stated that based on its success, they intend on having more drag queen story hours in Taunton.
The event is part of the SouthCoast LGTBQ+ Network’s efforts to expand across the region, such as the upcoming Taunton Pride Festival, which is happening Saturday, June 11, from noon to 5 p.m. at Hopewell Park.
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The Taunton Pride Festival will have music, drag queens walking around and performing all day, assorted food and product vendors and many different health and wellness organizations in attendance.
There will also be a children’s area with such activities as face painting, arts and crafts and life-sized interactive versions of games Connect Four and Jenga.
To learn more about or volunteer with the Taunton Pride Festival, contact the SouthCoast LGBTQ+ Network.
This article originally appeared on The Taunton Daily Gazette: LGBTQ+ Drag Queen reads for kids at Taunton Public Library Story Hour