Drag Queen Story Time aims to foster acceptance, inclusion in Whitehorse

·1 min read

A local drag artist is hoping to promote inclusion and acceptance among children this weekend, as the Guild Hall launches its first Drag Queen Story Time in Whitehorse.

"I really want to teach children that everybody is acceptable the way they are," said Prianshu Grover, who performs as Jolene Queen Sloan.

Dressed as a Disney princess, Sloan will be reading stories "promoting inclusion and acceptance," selected by Whitehorse Public Library staff.

As an early childhood educator, Grover says he sometimes sees little boys getting bullied for wearing their sisters' dresses.

"I would always tell them that I do this as well," Grover said. And "it's OK because that is who I am."

Drag Queen Story Hour got its start in San Francisco half a decade ago and has expanded to several Canadian communities.

Mary Sloan, president of the Guild Society, says this is the first live drag queen story time in Yukon.

She said she believes Whitehorse residents will embrace the event.

"I find Whitehorse really open and accepting," she said. "This is something that's done in a lot of big cities. I think we can handle it."

The story time is set for Saturday and Sunday, with 10 children permitted at each event.

Jolene Queen Sloan will be dressed as a Disney princess from Frozen and will lip sync Let it Go in addition to reading books.

Grover said a lot of people don't know that he is also Jolene. This is a "good introduction," he said.

COVID-19 precautions will be in place, including spacing and recommended masks. Children are asked to bring their own pillows, and they must attend with a parent.

Grover said the plan is to make drag queen story time a tradition in Whitehorse.