Yale Law School has made history by inviting a drag queen, Robin Fierce, as a guest speaker to read books aimed at children and young adults, The Post Millennial reports.
Fierce, who appeared in Season 15 of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, delivered dramatic readings of three books: Anti-Racist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi, And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, and an excerpt from All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson.
Fierce then performed a dance number for the assembled audience at Yale Law School, marking the school’s first time hosting a drag queen speaker.
The event took place amid ongoing debates around drag queen story times, with some opponents claiming that such performances are adult entertainment that is inappropriate for children.
“To be drag is art. It is expression [and] it is a release of a feminine side that is oftentimes suppressed by family members or the world. How are you banning art when there are so many different forms of art out there?” said Fierce, who jokingly requested to be called “Professor Robin Fierce” during the talk.
The choice to invite Fierce was political, said AJ Hudson, host and co-chair of diversity, equity and inclusion at the Graduate School Senate.
Hudson explained that the event was also a form of protest against what he believes to be an onslaught of “problematic” speakers invited by the Federalist Society branch at Yale, including Kristen Waggoner, a member of Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal advocacy group that has defended female sports and opposes the medical experiment of child sex changes.
“Many of the queer students at the law school do not feel safe there or want to spend any extra time in that building,” said Hudson. “To pay a drag queen to come speak — a directly system-impacted person whose expertise is just as valuable as a heterosexual cisgender white man, lawyer or judge, it’s historic.”
Political commentator Andrew Sullivan tweeted, “Many of the queer students at the [Yale] law school do not feel safe there. Can you just imagine what generations of openly gay men and women from the past who risked their lives every day would think of these pathetic, whining, distraught babies?”
Hudson believes that drag and queer politics have permeated most of Yale, and he hopes that the event broke down some of the boundaries, real and imagined, that the audience members and classmates held.