The New Tecumseth Public Library will be holding virtual Pride Month programming on Saturday, June 12.
“We’re having one big all ages event,” explained Kimberley Burgess, Adult Services Program Coordinator with the New Tecumseth Public Library (NTPL) of how the library is celebrating Pride Month.
“It’s for parents and caregivers, their children, their nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. It’s also for tweens, teens and adults. Everyone is welcome and it’s how we are going to celebrate Pride Month.“It’s our fi rst ever Drag Queen Story Time. We are hosting Fay Slift and Fluffy Souffl é – they are drag performers from Toronto. They are experienced child educators. They have a story time program with books, songs, and lots of laughs. They are supporting families with LGBTQ2 parents or parent and gender varying children. They read culturally diverse books. Supporters of all ages are welcome to show that this type of progress is important in New Tecumseth.”
While Fay (John) and Fluffy (Kaleb) are indeed a drag queen act, both have extensive experience working with children.
“I have always dreamed of combining my teaching with performance,” Fay, currently a kindergarten teacher with the TDSB ex-plained. “During World Pride, I performed with some of my students and friends on one of the main stages. My students have had a big impact on the evolution of Fay over the years including the music I have performed to, as well as the colours I used in my cos
-tumes and wig.
”After watching a video from the San Fran-cisco Gate about Drag Queen Story Hour, Fay was inspired and decided to bring it to Toronto.Reaching out to Fluffy, with whom he had a performing relationship, and with both having a background as educators, they decided to put their act together.They held their first story time at the Yorkville Branch of the Toronto Public Library five years ago.
“I have worked in education for over 25 years,” Fay explained. “I began working with pre-school children at the University of Guelph’s Childcare Centre, then went to teacher’s college at the University of Glasgow. I’ve worked and learned alongside a variety of ages, specializing in teaching children with social and emotional challeng-es and autism.”
After teaching in several grades from kindergarten to Grade Six, Fay said that after teaching kindergarten for the past five years, he knew this was where “I belonged.”
Fluffy brings an extensive background in the arts to the show and also has a background working with children.
“We value children and wanted to create a space for LBGTQ2+ children and their fam-lies that would be safe and welcoming,” Fay explained. “There is no question a child will ask us that we shy away from. Children are naturally curious and are so eager to lean and understand the world around them.”
During Fay & Fluffy’s Story Time, Fay said they want to “Instill a love of reading” in children.
“We are hopeful that many questions will be asked and that parents will take the time to be open to discussing what diversity is and how important it is that all child families be celebrated.
Most importantly, we want kids to have fun and know that we are human, just as they are, and that we want all folks to feel welcome and included.”
For more, visit ntpl.ca
Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times