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What is Drag Story Hour NYC?

Drag Story Hour NYC (DSH NYC) is a nonprofit organization providing fun and fabulous educational experiences for children in New York City. We are a proud member of the  Drag Queen Story Hour global network, although we operate as a separate nonprofit entity. Inspired by the first DQSH event in San Francisco in 2015, DSH NYC held our first event in Brooklyn in August 2016 and we now produce around 200 events a year in all five boroughs of the city.  Read more about our programming here.

Did you change your name? 

Yes! In February 2022, we changed our name from Drag Queen Story Hour NYC to Drag Story Hour NYC, to be more inclusive of the full spectrum of fabulousness that we bring to NYC kids. Our storytellers include drag kings, drag queens, drag creatures, drag things, and other drag identities. We're still the same group of awesome people with the same mission and programming you know and love—just with less limiting language! (The legal name of our organization is still Drag Queen Story Hour NYC Ltd.)

DQSH_ Paradise at Camp Alamander at the
Name change

What is drag?

Drag is an artistic way of expressing yourself and showing the world who you are or who you

want to be. Drag queens often express their feminine sides and drag kings often express their masculine sides, but anyone can use drag to express any aspect of their gender or personality through dressing up, performing, marching in parades, volunteering in their communities, and of course, reading to children! Anyone of any age can be a drag queen, king, prince, princess, or creature, regardless of how they identify in everyday life! All that matters is that, when you dress up, you feel comfortable and creative.

Why do kids love drag artists so much?

Children and drag artists have a lot in common. They love to dress up and use their imaginations to create awesome looks and express different sides of themselves. It’s no wonder they get along so well!

Should I call the drag artist “he,” “she,” “they,” or something else?

You can ask! It’s always OK to ask someone politely what their pronouns are. Examples of pronouns are “she,” “he,” and “they.” Some people have different pronouns at different times, like when they are in drag and out of drag. Others have the same pronouns all the time.

Why is DSH NYC important?

DSH NYC helps children develop empathy, learn about gender diversity and difference, and tap into their own creativity. DSH NYC can also be life-changing and ultimately life-saving for LGBTQ kids and teens, kids with LGBTQ parents or family members, and anyone who feels different because of their identity or interests or who may not otherwise see themselves reflected in the broader culture.

Should children be exposed to issues like gender fluidity?

Most children naturally explore gender identity and norms through imaginative play. However, too often gender norms are socially enforced at all ages, from the colors or clothes we’re supposed to wear to the toys kids are allowed to play with to the kinds of jobs we’re trained for.  DSH NYC teaches children to follow their passions and embrace gender diversity in themselves and others. This helps to curb bullying of LGBTQ+ kids and kids who may be perceived as different in all kinds of ways.

Isn’t this confusing for children? What if my children have questions and I don’t know the answers?

Adults don’t always have the answers, but we can ask questions and learn together. Creating spaces where these questions can be asked and mulled over is important.  There are also a number of organizations that provide resources for talking to kids about gender and other topics. [Resources coming soon.]

What is your agenda?

Our agenda is simple: we believe that people of all ages should be free to express themselves however they want, free from the constraints of prescribed gender roles. In other words, there’s no such thing as “girl clothes” and “boy clothes,” or “girl toys” and “boy toys.” DSH NYC teaches children that there are many ways to express themselves and their gender, and they are all OK.  Of course, drag is an art form that is rooted in diverse LGBTQ+ communities, and we support equality, justice, and respect for all people—for us, that’s just a given. Given that LGBTQ+ people are present in every community, we believe that children deserve to be exposed to these aspects of our shared history and culture in age appropriate ways.

How is your organization funded?

DSH NYC public programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor, and the New York State Legislature.  Our public programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Some of our programs are also funded by individual members of the NYC Council, public libraries, the NYC Department of Education, the NYC Department of Transportation, private foundations such as Heritage of Pride, and individual donations from kind people like you!

How do you choose which books to read?

We are constantly updating our book list with the support of our Curriculum Committee. Our storytellers read a mix of surefire readalouds and books that touch on gender identity and all forms of difference. We strive to read books that are accessible and fun, and books that are created by and center LGBTQ+ communities and people of color. If you would like to recommend a book for us to add to our list, please email and include as much information as possible about the book.

I’m a book author or publisher. Can you read my book at DSH?

Please send a PDF of your book to We’ll get back to you to request copies for our storytellers if it’s a good fit.

I'm a drag artist. How can I get involved?

You can start by filling out our artist application form! Please note that we receive a lot of applications and we can't get back to everyone. 

Are you providing in-person or virtual programs during the Covid-19 pandemic?

As of March 2022, we are providing both in-person and virtual programs, both indoors and outdoors. All of our staff and storytellers are fully vaccinated, and we follow all State and City safety guidelines.

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