- Leeds LGBT+ Literature Festival
Why Teach About LGBT+ People at a Young Age
Content Warning: bullying and hate
Did you just ask yourself “What is a drag queen?” Well let me tell you: I am whatever you want me to be! I can be a fairy, a princess, a king, a clown… maybe even Santa Clause himself!
A guest blog by Sab Samuel.
Hi! My name is Sab and I run Drag Queen Story Hour UK, but I am also known as Aida H Dee. I am known as Aida because… I AM A DRAG QUEEN! Did you just ask yourself “What is a drag queen?” Well let me tell you: I am whatever you want me to be! I can be a fairy, a princess, a king, a clown… maybe even Santa Clause himself! (Actually no I can’t be Santa because Santa gets angry at me and I do actually have Santa on speed dial…) The point is, I am a drag queen and that means I am anything you decide to make me in your imagination!
So now that we understand what a drag queen is, let me tell you what I do! I read stories like “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt”, I write stories of my own too, and I sing songs that make you want to get on your feet and boogie… but most importantly, I have fun wearing whatever I want to wear.
I am currently 25 million years old but when I was much younger, about the age of 5 million years old, I said to myself “Why am I the odd one out?” - Yep, at the young age of 5 million I knew that I was different! Why? Because I am a boy, and I like boys. All boys around me seemed to only like girls. I didn’t know it at the time, but some of them actually did like boys but they were too scared to say anything. Anyway, I decided to shut those feelings down, which wasn’t too difficult… after all, I was only 5 million years old! Barely even an adult!
Many years later when I was 13 million years old (if you haven’t guessed by now I am joking about the million years) I went to big boys school. In this school there were A LOT of bullies. I dealt with them rather easily because a bully is never a clever species, so I just learnt a few intelligent words to confuse them and sent them on their way. However, one day, a bully said to me a word that was rather, well, intelligent! He said “You are very effeminate.” Here the word effeminate means "like a girl"... The bully was saying in a more intelligent manner that “I act like a girl”, which is just a typical bully thing to say.. However, the use of a clever word did make me think. It didn’t hurt my feelings because nothing is wrong with being a girl, but it did make me think. I respond well to clever people you see, and intelligence is a good sign to see so upon hearing an “intellectual” word I decided to take it on board…
At 12:01 on a Thursday lunchtime, I realised I was "effeminate", meaning I was a little less boyish than other boys. By 12:02, one minute later, I had said to myself “No way am I gay though! Euch! That is disgusting!” And so, that is the moment I started to hate myself. For the next half a decade (5 years) I realised more and more that I was gay, and yet, I started to HATE myself more and more! “Hating yourself” is a weird feeling, and difficult to put into words. It’s like spending 20 minutes in the queue at an ice cream van and then choosing a flavour you don’t like! Except with me I didn’t even get to choose my favourite icecream flavour (which is bubblegum flavour by the way because it was always rainbow coloured... oh the irony!) In the end though, I realised it is so much easier to love yourself than to hate yourself, and so I am now a happy, flappy, 25 million year old gay person who dresses up as a drag queen to read and write stories! The end… or is it?
Let’s think about this:
Imagine if I had been taught when I was 5 years old that some boys like boys, and some girls like girls…
Imagine if ALL the 5 year olds were taught this…
What would happen?
Bullies wouldn’t exist because they would have been introduced to “effeminate” boys and “masculine” girls at a young age. It would be normal.
I would not have decided to shut my own vibrant personality down at a young age. I'd have understood myself better.
I would not have hated myself and stunted my personal growth.
There would be less upset people in the world.
The world would be happier!
Finally, Santa wouldn’t have to keep sending me cease and desists for pretending to be him.
There is no downside to telling people that you can love whoever you want to. Not a single one. My name is Sab Samuel and Aida H Dee and I run Drag Queen Story Hour UK reading stories about boys who love boys, girls who love girls, about boys who are girls, about girls who are boys, and about some people who don't even want to be a boy or girl at all. I love teaching about love, acceptance of others, making the world a happier place book by book… and I will do so until I am at least the ripe old age of 100 million years old.
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