'A library has split opinions by using a session to teach primary pupils about modern views on gender identity.
Two drag acts hosted readings yesterday designed to show children as young as five that it’s ‘OK to be different’.
Two LGBT stories, including one called When Kyla Was Kyle, were read to the pupils at the library in Southend-on-Sea.
There was also an opportunity to dress up and play games at the ‘family’ event.
The council-backed Drag Story Time session split opinion in the community, with some arguing it was a healthy way of exploring differences between people, while others complained that children should be allowed to enjoy their innocence.
Online comments included one from Kay Callahan, who said: ‘I think this is a great idea and will be good fun for families.’
Mandy O’Hara wrote: ‘Shakespeare used to have men dress up as women all the time in his plays, in full drag. What’s wrong with a little bit of storytelling now and again?’ Andy Skinner added: ‘You get men dressed up as pantomime dames, you even sometimes get a girl playing Peter Pan, so does it really matter?’ But one dissenter, Ray Vonn, wrote: ‘Thanks for the invite but I’ll pass.’
Others said primary school children were ‘way too young for this sort of thing’ and it was ‘sad that so much is being pushed on to our young children these days’.
The free hour-long session was hosted by flamboyant acts Joey Bambino and Saffron Slayter. Bambino is the drag king alter-ego of Lewis Carlile, 27, who is described as a ‘cheeky Essex lad’ and ‘gender fluid’. Slayter is a drag queen whose true identity is hidden.
Carlile, who lives in Southend, said: ‘This is about making kids know it’s OK to be different. I am aware that some people do not agree with LGBT issues. They do not understand what the members of the community go through.'
Read more: Drag artists read to children as library aims to teach youngsters about gender identity at story time sessions
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