Dear Editor, 

I write concerning the Drag Story Hour held in the McLean Library on a Saturday in late June 2021. 

 What Happened: The Drag Story Hour was advertised for “All Ages,” including “Babies and Toddlers,” “Preschoolers,” and “School Age Children.”  It was advertised as a joint production of the Fairfax County Public Library and the McLean Community Center, which would tend to create an expectation of wholesome family entertainment.  

 According to reporting in the Fairfax County Times, Majic Dyke introduced herself as a Drag King.  She had a beard and moustache made from glitter.  Persephone Rose introduced himself as a “non-binary transgender woman, which is a lot of words to say that I’m a normal woman that gets to define what that means for myself.”  He proclaimed his pronouns as “he” and “they.”  At one point, he introduced a stuffed toy dog and said it was not a dog but a cat.  When one of the children became upset upon hearing the stuffed dog called a cat, a woman in the audience asked, “Please don’t confuse the children!”  Kamani Sutra told the children that when he’s in drag his pronouns are she / her, and when he’s not in drag his pronouns are he / they.  The book he read to the children was about a South Asian “mom” and “his” son.  (The name, “Kamani Sutra,” of course, is a thinly disguised play on the Kama Sutra.)

 In an email from MCC Director Singh to a McLean resident (dated July 7, 2021), he described this show as part of the “vision set forth by Fairfax County’s One Fairfax initiative.” He also said it was part of this community’s “heritage.” 

 As one attendee reported, when she displayed disapproval of this event, Director Singh “angrily told me that if I was concerned about the well-being of children Ishould write to the Pope.”

 Why This Is Wrong for Fairfax County: Using taxpayer money (each performer received $300/hour), the Fairfax County government enticed families with young children to an event featuring sex performers, with obscene and/or sexualized names, in burlesque clothes, and discussing their own perceived sexual identity, which in some cases shifts depending upon the situation.  The announcement for the event did not fairly disclose this content to the public.

There was nothing wholesome about the Drag Story Hour.  It exposed young children to adult issues of sexual identity, blurring the boundary between male and female.  One of the most disturbing aspects of the event was Persephone Rose deliberately gaslighting the children by referring to a stuffed dog as a cat.  We all know what that was about.  The statement intentionally inculcated confusion as to whether words represent reality.  The technique was to groom the children to accept that, just as a dog can become a cat if we just use a different word, likewise a man can be a woman if we say so.

Director Singh justifies this event as part of Gay Pride.  But that gloss does not help.  First, the criticism would apply to a heterosexual version of the same event.  It is not appropriate for Fairfax County to deliberately expose young children to the denizens of erotic adult entertainment.  Period.

Second, there is no Fairfax County “heritage” of exposing young children to drag queens.  It was Director Singh who initiated this unprecedented event.  Furthermore, he revealed there was a didactic intent according to this reported statement:  “We created our version of an allinclusive Drag Storybook Hour.  One of the goals of Drag is to point out how people exist on a spectrum and are not in binaries, so we felt the open-ended framing was more useful.”  Director Singh was not celebrating the community’s heritage but attempting to shape its future according to his own views.

Director Singh justifies this event as intended to reduce suicide among gay teens.  But this story book reading event was for young children and any connection to preventing teen suicide is nonexistent or speculative.  If anything, this event would tend to be harmful to young children.  They are just learning to understand and name reality, which is why at least one child was vocally upset when Persephone Rose called a stuffed dog a cat.  Part of reality that young children are still learning is that humanity is composed of male and female sexes.  Director Singh hired these performers to blur this reality before the children are even old enough to understand it.  

 Director Singh’s also wraps the event in the mantle of the OneFairfax policy.  Maybe so, but the OneFairfax policy, claims to foster “equity” and “social equity” defined to include all religions within the county.  This OneFairfax event intolerantly trampled deeply held religious beliefs in the McLean community.  So much for “inclusivity.”  It was likely problematic to many more citizens who, even if not particularly religious, would naturally perceive this event as wholly unsuitable for children.

 Fairfax County can do better.  Perhaps the MCC and the McLean Library would consider a children’s story hour led by senior citizen volunteers?  The volunteers could read beloved children’s stories.  Call it “StoryReading Hour with McLean Seniors.”  The goal would be to entertain the children in a wholesome way in a safe and nurturing setting, i.e., the opposite of Drag Story Hour.  

 My specific request is this:  I ask that the Board of Supervisors explicitly forbid the use of taxpayer dollars and facilities to produce and/or host Drag Story Hour or any variant of it.  

A Fairfax County government event should not push a divisive agenda that tramples deeply held beliefs among the citizenry, creates an unsafe environment for children, and uses them as ideological props.  That is not what representative government is supposed to do.  

I would respectfully request that the prohibition be announced publicly as soon as possible, so that Fairfax County citizens can rest assured that this depraved event will never be repeated.

Jeffrey Shapiro

McLean, VA

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