The Times and The Daily Mail both quote Safe Schools Alliance in articles this week about drag queen Aida H Dee reading stories to children in UK libraries. The Times article notes that we have written to Dame Rachel de Souza, Children’s Commissioner for England about this.
We believe that Drag Queen Story Hour is damaging as it promotes the transgression of boundaries in a way that is not in small children’s best interests, and prioritises validation of adult identities over children’s factual learning about the world. Bringing adult ideology into children’s spaces such as schools and library Story Hours is an abuse of power by the adults involved. We have written more about this in a previous post about DQSH.
We prioritise the safeguarding of children: we therefore do not support the protests that have taken place outside Aida H Dee’s events, which will have been frightening both for the children accompanying the protesters and the children brought along to attend the Story Hour. We call on the responsible local councils and the Children’s Commissioner to intervene, prioritise child safeguarding and stop these events.
Below is a copy of the letter that we wrote to the Children’s Commissioner about the Story Hour tour by Aida H Dee.
“Dear Mrs de Souza,
We are writing to you today to ask you to prevent the proposed Drag Queen Story Hour events from going ahead at various libraries around the country, please see enclosed screenshot:
The person that we are concerned about is Sab Samuel, aka Aida H Dee. We are asking you to prevent this act going forward on the following grounds:
1. Safeguarding policy
We are alarmed by the content of DQSH’s safeguarding policy, seen here:
No adult should have to be reminded not to have sex with children. Why might such an explicit statement be needed?
2. Inappropriate behaviour
The teacher Thomas Heayal was, in June this year, struck off the teaching register for posting images of himself which the Teacher Regulation Agency considered fell “towards the lower end of sexual misconduct.” (p.10) The Agency’s panel also said:
“Whilst the panel had regard to the fact that there was no evidence presented that any pupils had seen or accessed the images online, the panel did consider that as a teacher Mr Heayel was likely to be viewed as a role model by pupils.” (Panel Decision, June 2022, p.7).
Indeed, Samuel himself says that he is a “role model for 5 year olds”.
Like Heayal, Samuel is incapable of moderating what he posts. For example:
It is one thing reading a story about acceptance, it is quite another making images such as these above available for curious children to find. Samuels cannot simultaneously claim to be a role model and also abrogate his responsibilities towards those children he claims to be concerned about. Given his public profile, he should take care not to refer to orgies on social media, and his actions are compounded by the accompaniment of a child’s cartoon figure. Just as teachers have to take care over what they publicly post, so too should Samuel. All those who influence children should uphold standards.
Furthermore, the following images are disturbing for obvious reasons. The phrase ‘love has no age’ is a phrase used to groom children and should be avoided by those who do not wish to be associated with such practices. You can read our concerns about this phrase this here.
3. Drag Queen Aida’s clothing reveals his genitals
This is not appropriate.
This is the best known argument so we won’t repeat it here in full, however this summary provides an explanation as to the misogyny inherent in drag and why it is dangerous.
Samuel’s misogyny is further exemplified here:
5. Age Inappropriate
‘Queerness’ is not a concept that is relevant to any child, however, the organisation Samuel works for states that “kids can be queer.”
Labels such as “queer” are meaningless, particularly in relation to small children, because their sexuality is yet to develop. It is also perfectly normal for children to dress up – all nursery schools have dressing up boxes that children are encouraged to explore. The books Sab Samuel reads lack this insight.
In the light of these points, please intervene in the decision of the Library Service to host Drag Queens in our libraries.
Safe Schools Alliance”