“I have a really big love and affinity for the book The Rainbow Fish,” says JaxKnife Complex. “I fell in love with that book as a child because of the glittery front cover of it. I really like glittery things. I like looking shiny and pretty. There’s another book, Just Add Glitter, which tells kids that if they’re ever feeling down or out, that they can talk about what’s making them feel that way, and if talking about it doesn’t fix it, you can just throw some glitter on it and make it look different. And that looking different is okay, and it’s supported, and your friend will probably like you even more if you’re glittery.”
It’s a lesson of tolerance — and love of glitter — that the local drag queen hopes to share when she takes center-stage at the Adams Morgan Community Center on May 19 for Drag Queen Story Hour.
“I think it’s just a really good opportunity for parents to show their kids that the world is a creative place, and it’s a place that doesn’t have barriers,” JaxKnife says. “It shows people that there are different types of lifestyles and different types of people in the world, and that it takes different people in the world to make the world go around.”
George Williams, a spokesman for the DC Public Library, which co-presents the event, says that Drag Queen Story Hour naturally complements the library’s “Sing, Talk and Read” initiative, which encourages adults to sing, talk and read with children to help them develop early literacy skills.
“We partner with these events because of course we want to see people reading to kids,” says Williams. “We go all over the city to promote opportunities where people want to do that. This is an example of a group that wants to help, that is drawing in parents who are excited about reading to their kids, and getting kids excited about reading.”
Jessica Bruce, community liaison for The LINE DC, which houses the Adams Morgan Community Center, says past iterations of Drag Queen Story Hour have been immensely popular, drawing sold-out crowds in February and March.
“Drag Queen Story Hour is a way to celebrate gender-fluidity and self-love, so a lot of the stories incorporated in it touch on those themes,” says Bruce. “The drag queens from the local Drag Queen Story Hour chapter come and present a story, and there’s singing and dancing, and I think it engages the kids more. And I think the parents discover a new way to spend time with their kids.”
Despite tensions over similar events in other cities, Bruce says The LINE DC has received nothing but positive feedback for hosting Drag Queen Story Hour. And JaxKnife has her own theory on why D.C. hasn’t had the same resistance as elsewhere.
“I feel like there are a lot of very open-minded individuals that live in D.C.,” she says. “Yes, the person that’s in charge of the country right now may seem like a closed-minded bigot, but this city is a very liberal, loving, open community. So I feel like a lot of people don’t really have a problem with other people expressing themselves.”
Drag Queen Story Hour is Sunday, May 19, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at the Adams Morgan Community Center at the LINE Hotel DC, 1770 Euclid St. NW. Search Drag Queen Story Hour at www.eventbrite.com.