Southington PRIDE focuses on Drag Queen Story Hour outreach

Published on Saturday, 26 March 2022 22:16
Written by Dean Wright


BRISTOL – Southington PRIDE held its fourth Drag Queen Story Hour Saturday at the New England Carousel Museum where children’s books were shared with families discussing pronouns, historical women overcoming adversity and youth empowered choices.

Robin Fierce read three books, “My Magical Choices by Becky Cummings; “What are Your Words” by Katherine Locke; and “She Persisted” by Chelsea Clinton.

Southington PRIDE is an emerging 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the goal of constructing a future that supports equitable access for vulnerable and minority populations, spreading LGBTQIA+ community awareness as well as inclusion efforts for special needs and supporting other diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in central Connecticut.

“What happened was we met on Zoom last year and we wanted to create a flag raising ceremony in Southington for Pride,” said Mitchell Oliva, chair of Southington PRIDE. “It blossomed from there. We had businesses reach out and people who wanted to sponsor and we expanded.”

The group hosted two weeks of events last year focused on LGBTQ+ pride and was one of the first such organizations in the area looking to hold family-focused events. Oliva said that some of the teens associated with the group did not feel they were represented in literature as youth and so readings were being hosted to help educate and bring awareness to their representation.

“Once we’re able to expand these programs, we’ll be able to have people see themselves more represented through this kind of stuff,” said Oliva. “Total so far in the past year, we’ve welcomed about 800 kids and adults to our Drag Queen Story Hours.”

The chair noted the group often holds family events earlier in the day and then events for older participants in the evening, such as a Cards Against Humanity game session that followed the afternoon story hour.

“I think these are great events and I’ve been to almost all of them,” said organization member Katt Ward. “I think they’re very inclusive and we usually get a lot of good turnout and the children are really engaged.”

Ward credited Fierce with fostering a space where children can actively interact with the readings.

“I think things like this are important and it helps kids to see other families that are different. It's an enlightening thing for the kids and they have fun with it,” said Fierce.

“What are Your Words” was a good book, thought Ward, to teach families about inclusive language with the introduction of pronouns and how individuals may use them. Ward identifies as nonbinary. 

“I think that’s incredibly important for people who don’t fit the gender binary, who need to see themselves in other places,” they said.

Oliva agreed that it was important to have such representation as a lot of youth who identify as nonbinary are struggling.

“It’s one of those things that for some people the concept of it becomes a debate online and for a lot of these kids they see that debate online and it affects them,” he continued.. “I hope that for the next generation, as we’re doing these programs, we’re thinking about 10 years from now and we’re hoping that these kids while they’re 5, when they become 15 and whether they’re LGBT or not, we’re helping to create a more inclusive society here in central Connecticut.”

Among those present for the reading, the Rocco family joined from Danbury and said they would like to potentially attend future events held by Southington PRIDE and brought along young Reyna and Hunter.

“Everything is centered in the Pride month of June and there’s never really any exposure outside of June so we saw something happening in March, maybe we should go,” said Priscilla Rocco. “I like this and we’re an hour away, so we definitely took a trip to come here and it seems like they have their stuff together.”

For more information about upcoming Southington PRIDE events, visit its website or follow its Facebook page.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington Herald, Terryville on Saturday, 26 March 2022 22:16. Updated: Saturday, 26 March 2022 22:18.