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Drag queen promotes diversity at children’s story hour in the Centro

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Merida, Yucatan — Kimmy Bomba will read aloud at an upcoming children’s story hour at a bookshop in the Centro.

It’s not just any story hour. And it’s a change of venue and a rare daytime appearance for Kimmy, who will be in full hair and makeup during the Drag Queen Story Hour.

This is the first such Story Hour in Yucatan, and probably the first time the children between the ages of 5 and 10 will see a real, live drag queen.

Author Michelle Tea created Drag Queen Story Hour in San Francisco in 2015. Its goal is to inspire a love of reading while teaching deeper lessons on diversity, self-love and an appreciation of others.

Today, Drag Queen Story Hour is an organization that runs programs in 30 cities across the United States, from D.C. to Long Beach, California. A social media threat forced the cancellation of another such event in Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Library.

A few weeks ago, a similar event in Monterrey, Mexico prompted a backlash. Critics accused the performers of “corrupting minors.”

That only prompted an organization in Mexico City to promote more drag queen readings, said Kimmy, whose real name is Jose Garcia.

“I had contacted the United States association, but when one was formed in Mexico City, I wrote to ask them what kind of stories they could share, what the dynamics are like, and what activities can be done,” Kimmy Bomba said.

Kimmy’s day-job experience as an English teacher will serve her as a storyteller. And kids will see that drag is an art and the “queens” are real people.

Kimmy said her readings won’t touch on more controversial sexual-diversity issues. “A Child of Books” by Oliver Jeffers promotes reading, while “Don’t Mess With Me” by Pat Thomas warns against bullying.

“People motivate me,” Kimmy told La Jornada. “They tell me that this is the right time because it has not been done in the southeast, and very little in Mexico.”

Kimmy Bomba’s Story Hour is 11:30 a.m. Sunday at the Educal bookshop, Calle 60 between 59 and 61 in the Centro.

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