Montreal Borough to Host Drag Queen for Children's Storytime in Fall

Montreal Borough to Host Drag Queen for Children's Storytime in Fall
A photo of a shelf with a variety of children's books, taken on Feb. 9, 2017. (Shutterstock)
Andrew Chen

A Montreal borough is reversing its decision to cancel a story-reading event for children, announcing that the reinstated event will be hosted by a well-known drag queen.

St-Laurent borough Mayor Alan DeSousa said in a statement on Aug. 2 that officials met with Sebastien Potvin, who performs as Barbada de Barbades, and approved two story-reading events on Nov. 5 at two libraries: the Bibliothèque du Boisé and the Bibliothèque du Vieux-Saint-Laurent.

The borough previously cancelled Potvin’s story-time event for children in July.

Officials said the event in November is part of the borough’s fall program, which includes a series of cultural and library activities.

In some U.S. states, legislation is being introduced to prevent children's exposure to drag queen events or performances.

In June, Arizona Senate Republicans announced plans to craft legislation prohibiting children from attending drag shows.

“It crosses the line when kids are subjected to these drag shows,” a June 14 joint statement from the Arizona state Senate majority team said.

Arizona state Sen. Vince Leach, a Republican who led the legislative effort, said the proposed law's main goal is to protect children against inappropriate behaviour.

“Impressionable youngsters are going into a room [and] being exposed to things that are distasteful, disgusting, and wrong,” he said.

Earlier in June, Texas state Rep. Bryan Slaton also promised to put forth a bill to ban drag shows in the presence of minors throughout the state. This came after a drag show event for children, advertised as "family-friendly," was held in the state, raising widespread concerns about its appropriateness.
The incident also led Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to consider using child safety laws to protect children from drag shows.

“It used to be kids would be off-limits … everybody agreed with that,” DeSantis said at a press conference on June 8. “Now it just seems like there’s a concerted effort to be exposing kids more and more to things that are not age-appropriate.”

In New York City, a councilwoman pushed back against Drag Queen Story Hour, following a report that shows the city has been paying more than $200,000 for drag performers to appear in New York City public schools since 2018.
“I am considering pulling funding to any school in my district that is implementing Drag Queen Story Hour,” Vickie Paladino, who represents Queens in the New York City Council, told the New York Post.

“We are taking hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the pockets of hardworking New York taxpayers … to fund a program teaching little children about their gender fluidity? Not. On. My. Watch.”

Potvin, who has been hosting storytelling events since 2016, has appeared as Barbada on the reality show "Call Me Mother" on OUTtv, and hosts the children’s show "Barbada" on Radio-Canada’s streaming service ICI

Allan Stein, Bill Pan, Jannis Falkenstern, and The Canadian Press contributed to this report.