GREAT FALLS - The Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is a program that's gotten popular nationwide, where a drag queens plan a storytime session for the whole family
It's exactly what it sounds like: people reading stories to children while dressed in drag. It's a way of discussing and questioning social expectations that first started at libraries in San Francisco back in 2015.
It's grown in other cities since then, and this year it's heading to Great Falls for the first time ever.
According to the DQSH organization, the event helps kids capture the imagination and play of gender fluidity through queer role models.
Julie Yard has been a drag queen for three years. She says she wants to set an inspiration for those at the event.
"You're this person who's just so unafraid to go out and be seen in, you know, like this in clown makeup,” said Julie. “And there are so many people who look up to that and respect that."
Throughout the event, Drag Queens will read stories that focus on inclusivity as a way of promoting a safe space for kids to express themselves.
According to a 2017 study on youth in Montana, those who identified on the LGBTQ spectrum were more likely to experience discrimination in school based on their identity. Since bullying can start at a young age, Julie says that events like DQSH can help empower kids to be themselves, regardless of what other people think.
"I think the earlier we can hammer in this idea that being different doesn't make you wrong or doesn't mean you should be outcasted in any way. I think any chance to hammer that point home is a great one," said Julie.
In addition to storytelling, there will also be a movement activity and a crafting opportunity for kids to make their own crowns and tiaras.
The event will take place on June 1 from 2:00 to 3:00 PM at Cassiopeia Books near downtown at 721 Central Avenue. Admission is free to the public, but space is limited.