By Mikkel Hyldebrandt
On Saturday, HRC Atlanta is hosting a special edition of Drag Queen Story Time with Edie Cheezburger and partnering organizations For the Kid In All Of Us, Out Front Theatre, and PFLAG. Peach had the pleasure of talking to Malik Brown, member of HRC’s National Board of Governors, and Edie Cheezburger about HRC’s programs and why reading a children’s book is so impactful.
Malik Brown, Member of HRC’s National Board of Governors
Tell us a little about the Drag Queen Story Time: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo?
The event is open to all ages, but the target audience is LGBTQ (and ally) parents and families. Guests will get to hear about the vital work that HRC does, as well as the event’s partnering organizations For the Kid In All Of US, Out Front Theatre, and PFLAG. After Edie’s book reading, they’ll be able to hang around for actives, arts & crafts and other fun surprises.
HRC has greatly expanded on our focus on partnering with like-minded civic organizations – on a national and local level. In choosing the partnering organizations for this event, we really wanted to work with youth-serving organizations.
Talk to us about some of HRC’s youth-serving programs?
Absolutely! HRC has several programs and initiatives geared towards LGBTQ youth. The Welcoming Schools program works with schools nationwide to create inclusive environments for LGBTQ students and diverse families. There are several Georgia schools that participate in the Welcoming schools’ program. The organization recently launched a groundbreaking LGBTQ Youth Survey; the results were a call to action for all adults who want to ensure that young people can thrive. HRC’s annual Time to Thrive conference addresses safety, inclusion, and well-being for LGBTQ and questioning youth, and brings together youth-serving professionals to discuss best practices for working with and caring for LGBTQ youth and their families in schools, community centers, healthcare settings and beyond.
What about family-serving programs?
HRC’s All Children – All Families project promotes LGBTQ inclusive policies and affirming practices among child welfare agencies and formally recognizes those agencies that are leading the field with innovative approaches to inclusion. HRC recently partnered with the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) to release a groundbreaking, new report underscoring the urgent need for inclusive employer-paid family and medical leave for LGBTQ working people of color. In 2016, HRC launched the Parents for Transgender Equality Council, a coalition of the nation’s leading parent-advocates working for equality and fairness for transgender people.
You are working with the illustrious Edie Cheezburger on this event – why did you choose her?
We’re very lucky in Atlanta to have a diverse and thriving drag scene. There are a number of drag artists we could have chosen, but our first choice was Edie. She’s one of Atlanta’s most seasoned and recognizable drag queens, and she’s also very familiar with the Drag Queen Story Time format – having her own series.
Why did you choose the book “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo”?
In today’s polarized political state, “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” made a lot of sense because it shines focus on the themes of acceptance, love, and equality. The LGBTQ community is incredibly diverse, and this book celebrates those differences.
How do you think this kind of event will have an impact?
My hope is that this event, and all events like it, will highlight how diverse families can truly be – and the beauty in that diversity. HRC relies on thousands of volunteers from all walks of life, so I hope this event motivates folks to get involved. They can visit hrcatlanta.com
Edie Cheezburger, Drag Performer Hosting at Lips, Midtown Tavern, and Blake’s
Talk to us about your Drag Queen Story Time events?
Drag Queen Story Time started in Atlanta last June, in collaboration with Posman Books at Ponce City Market. The event is an all-ages, hour-long reading that happens every month, alternating between Brent Star and myself. We both choose books that speak about inclusion and acceptance.
What are your thoughts on this special event and collaboration with HRC, For the Kid In All Of Us and Out Front Theatre?
The organizations planning this event are doing incredible work in the LGBTQ community. Whether it be advocacy, supporting our youth, or focusing on the arts, they’re all doing great work. I’m excited to work with them.
What is it about a drag queen reading a story to children (and childish souls) that is so powerful?
I think that the reason Drag Queens love reading to children is that we are given the opportunity to entertain an entirely different audience. It’s nice to get out of the bars and perform for a new kind of audience. They are generally much more well-behaved!
Talk to us about the choice of book for this event?
The book that was chosen for this Story Time has a powerful message about acceptance of not only self but others as well. It has a great message about standing up to tyranny and doing what’s right. The most transgressive thing about this book is that it was written as a parody of a children’s book about Mike Pence. I cry every time I’ve read this book, and I’m hoping that I can get through it this time.
How do you think this kind of event will have an impact?
Every time I that I read at Story Time, I am able to see an impact on children’s lives. I bring joy to their lives for an hour and give them an alternate view of what an adult can be. My purpose is to entertain and spread love and joy as best I can.
Drag Queen Story Time: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo
HRC is hosting the event with For the Kid In All Of Us, Out Front Theatre and PFLAG
Saturday, June 23, 10am-12pm
Out Front Theatre Company
999 Brady Ave NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
Go to hrcatlanta.com/events/ for tickets.