Top Ten Strategies for Hosting Drag Queen Story Hour

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In light of ongoing anti-LGBTQ2SIA+ attacks against indie Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) events, here are our top ten strategies to support and protect Drag Queen Story Hour.

  1. Take inventory of your ally network and reach out to community members and organizations who support your store events and/or LGBTQ2SIA+ events in your area ahead of time to get the word out about your DQSH event and support needs.
  2. Use social media to reach out and rally your supporters. In the face of negative attacks, Montana Book Co. shared an Instagram post  with nearly 4,500 followers to ask supporters to show up in solidarity.
  3. Have pride flags available at your event! Books, Inc. made pride flags available for attendees to hold up in response to protesters.
  4. Make sure your allies and advocates know they can speak up and intervene to preserve and protect indie DQSH events. During a recent attack on DQSH at Books, Inc., people who attended the event shared with NBC Bay Area that anti-LGBTQ2SIA+  protesters showed up with signs, and at one point, a few of them pretended to be a part of the audience. Allies and attendees brought attention to the protestors, and they were forced to leave the event.
  5. Have a conversation with staff and the drag queens ahead of time. Check in and assess how everyone is feeling about the event, what their concerns are, and what everyone needs to feel supported. Discuss potential response plans to protestors.
  6. Consider if drag queens, employees, and attendees need to be walked to and from their cars for the event.
  7. Consider alternative exits from your event for safety, such as a back door as historically utilized for safety in LGBTQ2SIA+ spaces.
  8. If your store has experienced attacks or protesters for hosting DQSH, consider revising your next steps for future events. Loyalty Bookstores quickly implemented this when they shared plans to move their DQSH events to a safer location while working to address the attacks on their story hour events.
  9. In the face of protests, indie bookstore networks of love and support can also grow. To counter the (hateful) rhetoric of any attacks on DQSH at Little City Books in New Jersey, the Hudson County LGBT Caucus hosted a drag queen breakfast.
  10. Celebrate your indie DQSH successes through photos, videos, social media posts, and more. Your stories inspire and encourage the greater community. For example, Montana Book Co. shared a hand-written note on social media mailed to them anonymously from someone in Florida who thanked them for their bravery in hosting Drag Queen Story Hour. The shared the note as a reminder of the impact of visibility and bravery. Be brave, and know that even an anonymous thank you note is a huge action.