Queens council member calls drag queen reading program ‘grooming’

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QUEENS, NY (PIX11) – Queens board member Vickie Paladino stands by controversial remarks she made criticizing the nonprofit Drag Queen Story Hour. The group hosts sessions where drag queens read books to children to promote diversity — but Paladino called the effort grooming and sexualizing children.

Drag queen Flame, who has worked in the city for four years, said the books she reads “teach about love and acceptance”.

Storytimes have become the source of heated political debate this week. The New York Post reported that $200,000 in city and state funds went to fund the program at city libraries and schools.

In Paladino’s opinion, the queens “don’t belong” there.

“It’s adult entertainment,” she added.

On social media, the council member called the story hours “preparing and sexualizing children.”

But fellow council member Erik Bottcher told PIX11 News the comparison was flawed.

“A groomer is a child molester,” he said. “Comparing my community to child molesters is totally unacceptable.”

Paladino apologized and said she didn’t want to implicate her fellow board member in her statements.

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