Storytelling school

Vickie Paladino doubles down on her criticism of drag storytelling in schools

A beleaguered Queens councilwoman doubles down on her disdain for drag queens reading books to school children in the city.

Councilwoman Vickie Paladino refused to bow to many of her council colleagues and other critics and apologize for claiming a taxpayer-funded program was “drag queen degeneration” that is, to “prepare” young children.

“I want one thing to be very clear: I am NOT apologizing or writing my statement against the use of taxpayer dollars to fund Drag Queen Story Hour in our public schools.” Republican Councilman Vickie Paladino said in a statement Friday evening. “This type of political, social and cultural indoctrination of our grandchildren – often without parental consent – is totally unacceptable and inappropriate, and I refuse to condone it.”

As the Sunday Post first reported last week, parents and others, like Paladino, have raised concerns that New York is pouring taxpayer funds on a group that sends drag queens and kings into schools to read children’s books to promote inclusivity – often without parental knowledge or consent.

Drag queen Harmonica Sunbeam read books and sang songs with students from Star Academy and Neighborhood School.
dragstoryhournyc/Instagram
Paladino says drag storytelling programs are "grooming" kids.
Paladino says drag storytelling programs “prepare” kids.
Edna LeshowitzZuma

City council members set aside $80,000 for Drag Story Hour NYC from their discretionary budgets this year, more than triple the $25,000 projected in 2020.

Paladino, who has previously fueled controversy among his council colleagues on COVID-19 vaccination policies and other issues, compared drag storytelling to ‘preparing children’ – sparking outrage from many lawmakers Democrats and LGBTQ activists.

Mayor Eric Adams defended the program, and the city council’s LGBTQIA+ caucus called for Paladino to be removed from committee assignments and formally censored.

Mayor Eric Adams directly defended the program.
Mayor Eric Adams directly defended the program.
dragstoryhournyc/Instagram
Drag queen Yuhua Hamasaki prepares to read with students at Tompkins Middle School.
Drag queen Yuhua Hamasaki prepares to read with students at Tompkins Middle School.
dragstoryhournyc/Instagram

Council President Adrienne Adams also criticized Paladino for his remarks and said the Council would consider taking action.

“Hate of any kind, including transphobia, has no place in this city, and certainly not in this Council,” she said Thursday. “The Council is considering what other measures might be warranted.”