FIRST ON DAILY SIGNAL: A District of Columbia library sought to engage a drag queen with a criminal background to perform at pride-themed Drag Story Hours for children.

A staff member at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library solicited drag queen Latrice Royale, otherwise known as Timothy Wilcots, to sing and dance in drag before children, according to an email obtained by the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news outlet).

According to that May 17, 2023, email, the library employee was under the impression that the LGBTQ organization the Human Rights Campaign would pay the drag queen’s travel fees and $10,000 performance fee. Wilcots ultimately proved too pricey for the event, the HRC’s Brandon Hooks shared in a later email (neither Hooks nor the HRC responded to requests for comment).

“Before I ping her manager again, I just want to make sure HRC would be able to cover 10k fee plus, hotel, ground, and air. Please let me know if this is possible,” wrote the library’s youth services manager, Paula Langsam. The library did not immediately address The Daily Signal’s inquiries.

That email was addressed to both Hooks and Amy Oden of the HRC. The email’s subject line read: “Pride Family Day at MLK Update.”

Wilcots, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment, was previously arrested and incarcerated for possession of oxycodone, clonazepam, cannabis, and ecstasy, court records show.

Wilcots has described his time in prison in a number of media interviews since then.

The library’s interest in Wilcots, despite his criminal background, underscores concerns that drag queen story hour organizers are failing to perform background checks on the adults who dress in drag and read LGBTQ books to children at drag queen story hours.

Wilcots is a biological man who stands at 6 feet, 4 inches tall, weighing almost 400 pounds. When dolled up and wearing heels, one media report says, Wilcots “towers close to seven feet tall.” He is legally married to a man, describes himself as “large and in charge chunky yet funky bold and beautiful,” and has over a million followers on social media.

Drag queen story hours began as niche events on the West Coast that spread to libraries and schools across the U.S. The official Drag Queen Story Hour website boasts of almost 50 independently operated chapters across the U.S., including in New York City, D.C., and Chicago, as well as two international chapters in Tokyo and in Berlin.

According to the Drag Queen Story Hour’s official website, the events are designed to be about 45 minutes long for children aged 3 to 8 years old and intended to capture children’s imagination and help children explore their gender fluidity through “glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models.”

For example, The Daily Signal previously reported that drag queen “VV Majesty” led a Capital Pride Alliance drag queen story hour in Washington, D.C., where “VV Majesty” read a book about a trans-identifying little boy to toddlers.

The drag queen was dressed in a voluminous tulle princess dress with a black bodice and an exposed red bra—a “fairy rose princess,” as the drag queen told The Daily Signal. He also sported a long black wig, a three-horned crown with red paper roses on it, and a large glittery necklace.

Critics on both sides of the aisle have expressed strong concerns about lasciviously dressed men, often in corsets, heels, wigs, and heavy makeup, reading books about gender ideology to very young children.

These concerns are heightened by news reports, such as the arrest of a Milwaukee judge on child pornography charges. That judge was the former president of an organization sponsoring Drag Queen Story Hour

The Justice Department sentenced Brett Blomme in December 2021 to nine years in prison followed by 20 years of supervised release for distributing child pornography showing abuse of young boys. At his sentencing, District Judge James Peterson described the child pornography that Blomme was distributing as “the worst of the worst.”

Drag queens who perform for children at story hours insist that they are well intentioned.

“I’m a nonviolent offender, not a child molester, or a pedophile,” Wilcots reportedly said in an interview with NewNowNext. “I wasn’t standing in front of schools targeting kids.” 

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