by Josephine Bartosch
Friday, 13
January 2023
News
11:44

Tate criticised for Drag Queen Story Hour children’s readings

Several groups claim the gallery is targeting kids with gender propaganda
by Josephine Bartosch
Seb Samuel, who performs under the name Aida H Dee. Credit: Twitter/@AidaHDeeDrag

This year, someone at Tate looked at the gallery’s half-term programme and decided what was missing was a man wearing plastic tits and a wig reading stories to kids. And lo it came to pass that controversial drag act Seb Samuel, who performs under the name Aida H Dee in children’s libraries, was invited to read his self-published books at Britain’s largest public art gallery for ‘reading sessions‘. The organisation’s website beamed with pride about hosting Samuel, who was billed as an “ADHD, neurodivergent, queer hero of literature, theatre and children’s entertainment”.

But joy at the visitation of the drag queen is not universal. This week, three groups, Artists Against Propaganda (AXP), Transgender Trend (TT) and Safe Schools Alliance (SSA), teamed-up to launch a petition calling on the gallery to “stop targeting kids with gender propaganda”. The organisations listed social media posts by Samuel which they referred to as “safeguarding red flags” — including jokes about anal sex at orgies — arguing that had a teacher made similar comments online, they would be sacked. As an aside, an earlier petition launched on change.org was removed without warning; presumably child safeguarding is considered unsafe to the sensibilities of gender ideologues.


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The groups also criticised Tate for publishing “I WANT TO SHOW YOU A BODY” — a guide for schools produced in partnership with the transgender lobby group, Gendered Intelligence. It would seem the gallery now considers promoting gender ideology as within its remit. The document is extraordinary; the lovechild of Butlerian queer theory and pretentious art wank presented as fact, with a side-helping of emotional blackmail.

It offers a list of dos and don’ts to help teachers on their journey to trans-allyship. “Don’t tell people they’re in the wrong toilets or changing rooms, they probably know more about their own gender than you do”; “Talk to your school about gender-neutral toilets”; “Assert that transgender women are women”; “Assert that non-binary people exist.”

But there are also more worrying claims made, such as there “is an extremely high rate of suicide amongst transgender children in schools” which can be “negated” by telling children that they are the opposite sex. Current NHS guidelines for supporting youngsters confused about their gender identity do not support blind affirmation of cross-sex identities. It’s dangerously misleading.

“Artists like us are silenced, deplatformed and cancelled for expressing the ‘wrong views’ on gender,” one member of AXP explained. “But to see Tate target children with those same unfounded ideas about gender takes this problem to another level.”

Tate proudly proclaims on its website that its aim is to become “a truly inclusive organisation with a workforce and audience as diverse as the communities we serve.” But staking their rainbow flag firmly on one side of the culture war means that they will never be inclusive, nor indeed relevant, to the majority of the public whose taxes fund the gallery’s continued existence. As the groups who wrote the petition conclude:

Listen up Tate: we are your public and we are here to tell you that inclusive means everybody. That includes the very many people in this country who don’t agree that gender ideology is the law and who don’t agree that children should be exposed to its thinking uncritically…you need to remember your duty to the safe-guarding of children and you need to get back to your mission: art.
- Artists Against Propaganda, Transgender Trend & Safe Schools Alliance

Update: Tate responded after publication of this story with the following statement:

“We do not programme artists in order to promote particular points of view, nor to reconcile differing points of view. Our galleries offer a broad programme and visitors have the freedom to choose which aspects of it they engage with.”

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Richard 0
Richard 0
24 days ago

Thank you for this JB, I like your directness. We need to confront this ideology head-on.

Phillip Arundel
Phillip Arundel
24 days ago
Reply to  Richard 0

What is so disturbing about the picture is the lack of masks – will no one think of the children?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
23 days ago
Reply to  Richard 0

As an addendum to this story, the Free Speech Union is submitting examples of tech companies withdrawing their services as a means of censoring free speech for a government consultation this month on the Financial Services and Markets Bill.https://freespeechunion.org/
They’d like people to submit any more examples that they’re aware of for this consultation, to [email protected]
There are lots of examples in addition to that given in the article above about the petition on change.org :
Back in February 2022, online donations platform GoFundMe took the decision to withhold donations specifically to Canadian truckers protesting vaccine mandates in what came to be known as the ‘Freedom Convoy’.More recently, Ko-Fi, an online platform that allows users to sell their work and raise donations, removed a number of accounts belonging to UK-based feminists and feminist organisations due to their gender critical views.Last month, ticketing website Eventbrite was accused of conducting a “campaign of cancellation” against gender critical events after pulling tickets for a book launch organised by Woman’s Place UK, and a screening of Adult Human Female, a documentary critiquing gender ideology. In both cases, ticket holders were suddenly refunded their tickets, all trace of the event was removed from the Eventbrite website, and organisers were informed by the company’s Orwellian sounding “trust and safety team” that the event violated policies on “hateful, dangerous, or violent content”.Then, in November, an event organised by Sarah Phillimore, a barrister, and Graham Linehan, the comedy writer famous for Father Ted, to promote their book Transpositions – a collection of testimonies from people concerned about gender identity ideology – had its listing and tickets purged in an apparently identical fashion.And just this week it emerged that crowdfunding site IndieGoGo had summarily cancelled a funding campaign by cartoonist, comic creator and gender critical feminist Nina Paley after her project to self-publish a comic book had reached its target. Having refunded all donors and denied Paley an appeals process, the company informed her that her perfectly lawful work – the wonderfully titled Agents of H.A.G. – did not comply with their ‘Terms of Use’ and refunded all donors.If you’ve got any of your own examples of politically motivated financial censorship, then please do get in touch with the FSU.

David Ryan
David Ryan
24 days ago

“we are your public and we are here to tell you that inclusive means everybody. That includes the very many people in this country who don’t agree that gender ideology is the law and who don’t agree that children should be exposed to its thinking uncritically…you need to remember your duty to the safe-guarding of children”. Well done, Artists against Propaganda. And there are plenty of other institutions and organisations that should pay attention to this message.

Jim Jam
Jim Jam
24 days ago

Someone needs to ask these freaks exactly why its important that they cross dress in sexualised garb whilst reading to kids.

Also, given the no doubt near uniform public opposition to this stuff, its impossible not to regard those media oulets not reporting on it as complicit in it.

These people must be stopped.

David Ryan
David Ryan
24 days ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

The silence of mainstream media on any protest that doesn’t accord with “progressive” values is deafening. The Isabel Vaughan Spruce story is another case in point.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
23 days ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

“These people must be stopped.”
*These perverts must be stopped.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
24 days ago

WTF does “ADHD, neurodivergent, queer hero of literature, theatre and children’s entertainment” mean?

Wilma Grant
Wilma Grant
24 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

“Art w**k(er)”

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
23 days ago
Reply to  Wilma Grant

Very succinct.

Phillip Arundel
Phillip Arundel
24 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

it means sexualizing children. It was called child abuse till woke…

Scott McArthur
Scott McArthur
24 days ago

It’s a pedophilic grooming ritual intended to disrupt heterosexual identity formation and maximize the number of tweens and young adults open to gay sexual experiences. It says so in its own queer theory monographs, books and agit prop documents.
Any institution or individual who accepts these performances under the ideal of toleration and acceptance is a dupe.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
23 days ago
Reply to  Scott McArthur

Correct.

Matt M
Matt M
24 days ago

If Rishi Sunak is looking for Clear Blue Water positions to distinguish his party from the opposition, he could do worse than doing something to block this. Maybe sack the Director of the Tate or withdraw promised funding or something.

Last edited 24 days ago by Matt M
Mark McKee
Mark McKee
24 days ago
Reply to  Matt M

Rishi is cheerleading all of this stuff. He is as woke as the Tate people and will just go along with all of this applied critical theory until it all collapses under the weight of its own absurdities. In theory, I should be allowed to identify as a black woman, nevermind just as a woman, if I take all this stuff to its logical conclusion. Happily, empiricists, if they were alive today would see all of these statements as untestable in the real world and therefore without meaning. I’m self-identifying as an empiricist!

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
24 days ago

While, at the same time, Tate censor works of art that they themselves commissioned.

Last edited 24 days ago by Stephen Follows
Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
24 days ago

The absurdity of this trend is literally going to have historians of the future shaking their heads in astonishment that there were actually parents and organizations in this misbegotten era who not only allowed but actively encouraged exposing their children to such toxic horrors. Adults engaging in drag have every right to do as they please, away from children.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
24 days ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

Agreed.
I also look forward to the realization of just how preposterous it is to use descriptions of a human being such as “ADHD, neurodivergent, queer hero of literature, theatre and children’s entertainment”, to cultivate an environment of inclusivity. Sounds rather exclusive to me.
Sincerely, Warren Trees (White, male, Christian, 55+, employed, heterosexual, married, suburban, conservative, handyman, cocktailer, cooking enthusiast, Unherd subscribing, red wine loving traveler.)

Mark McKee
Mark McKee
24 days ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

Based (and elegant!)

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
23 days ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

This does beg the question of who the utter wombats who think it’s fine for their kids to attend this are. They actually think this is ok for their kids.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
22 days ago

Exactly the case. Without these chowderheads there would no issue, because normal parents would be swarming libraries and schools that tried it with pitchforks, torches, and barrel staves.

Mark McKee
Mark McKee
24 days ago

A witty and well-written expose of the dangerous ideology of the far-left activists masquerading as art custodians. I’m also heartened to read of Artists Against Propaganda (AXP), Transgender Trend (TT) and Safe Schools Alliance (SSA) pushing back. It’s takes real moral courage to stand up to this ideology and I applaud all three orgs for being on the right side of history!

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
24 days ago

If the goal of these men is to increase tolerance and understanding of their way of life they are failing rather spectacularly.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
24 days ago

I had to read on for a bit to realise that this wasn’t yet another opinion piece about Andrew Tate.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
24 days ago

Me too. I was quite disappointed.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
24 days ago

Yes Andrew Tate only needs to claim that his oeuvre is a piece of performance art constituting an ironic subversion of conventional bourgeois morality and the Tate would be salivating to have him exhibited.

Tom Scott
Tom Scott
23 days ago

When we say the ‘Tate’, what do we mean?
Who are the people that run the Tate? Have them named in public and get them to explain themselves .

Lesley Taylor
Lesley Taylor
23 days ago

I went to a DQ story event at a local museum, my take on it was that you have a group of people monetizing what they do to a new audience, it’s opportunistic. I reckon there is lots of cash floating around for the correctly worded , diversity box ticking grant applications . Previously drag queens would have had limited ways of earning by doing turns in clubs, DQST has massively expanded their earning opportunities. Mostly I think that is what is going on but sadly it opens doors for unintended consequences of child grooming, and exposure to dangerous ideology and inappropriate material.

DA Johnson
DA Johnson
23 days ago
Reply to  Lesley Taylor

This is a good point–the financial gain aspect is often overlooked, but “follow the money” is an axiom that applies to almost every situation.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
23 days ago
Reply to  Lesley Taylor

An interesting take on it. Presumably we’ll get pole dance stripper story time in due course.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
22 days ago
Reply to  Lesley Taylor

Furthermore, when protesters caused one event by said Ada in Bristol to be cancelled Ada didn’t lose any ££££!

Charles J Lewis
Charles J Lewis
24 days ago

This ‘drag’ business is a gift for paedophiles, sorry, I mean minor-attracted nice men….!

Simon McQueenie
Simon McQueenie
24 days ago

“pretentious art w**k presented as fact”.

Bravo. This is Phrase of the Day. Possibly even of the Week.

jules Ritchie
jules Ritchie
24 days ago

Isn’t this just Panto’? I loved them when I was a kid and my Gran always took us to a couple before Xmas. We booed, hissed and screamed along with everyone there. Do these young children really care/ think about the politics?

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
23 days ago
Reply to  jules Ritchie

Aristotle — ‘Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.’ Think about it…..

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
23 days ago
Reply to  jules Ritchie

Isn’t this just Panto?

No.

Saul D
Saul D
22 days ago
Reply to  jules Ritchie

In pantomime, dames are there to be laughed at – the unworldliness of a man in a dress pretending to be a woman sets the jokes that follow – it is supposed to look stupid and funny to children.
For Drag Queens the dress up isn’t about making yourself an object of ridicule but is about sex – and very adult-level sex at that – kinks, fetishes, role play. If a drag queen is OK, then so is someone in leathers and bondage gear, or BSDM slaves. We try to protect children from inappropriate sexual messaging, particularly because of the power disparities that can leave children in vulnerable situations.

Paul S
Paul S
24 days ago

On the face of it I don’t have a problem with drag queen’s reading age appropriate stories to kids. I think the pushing of extreme gender ideologies have lead to a reaction on the right – and it’s drag queens that will get it in the neck- just another dark avenue of the culture war.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
23 days ago
Reply to  Paul S

Sincere or satire? I really can’t tell.