(OPINION) Becoming a dad was a massive shock to the system. I’d read the books and bought all the expensive and ultimately unnecessary accessories, but none of that prepared me for the feeling that came over me when my son, Patrick, finally arrived.
There was joy and a few tears, but pretty soon after there was also an overriding sense of panic. Suddenly I was responsible for looking after another human life. It was a huge step up from the two Russian hamsters, Noel and Liam, I previously cared for as a teenager. That hadn’t gone well; Noel ended up killing Liam.
Planning has never been my strong point which kind of worked out well in the chaos of the three years that have followed. Thinking on my feet and being able to improvise allowed me to navigate the tornado of diapers, no sleep and occasional tantrum.
While I was able to deal with the fact that a lot of what we had intended to do ended up going out the window, I always had a clear idea of the kind of father I wanted to be. I wanted to be fun but also fair. It was OK to have boundaries but I didn’t want to be too strict. I didn’t want Patrick to be afraid of me or the repercussions that some misdemeanor might bring.
Above all, I wanted Patrick to be happy with who he was and accepting of others. So, when my wife suggested we take him to “Story Time with Mama G” near where we live in the South Norwood neighborhood of London, England, I was all for it.
According to Newsweek, Drag queen story Hours first started popping up in San Francisco in 2015 with a series of events organized by author and poet Michelle Tea. They were aimed at promoting both reading and diversity to children.
The movement has since gone worldwide, with events popping up in the U.K. and London in particular. I wasn’t that familiar with the concept until I came across an advert for Mama G. She has been around since 2018, serving as both a pantomime dame and drag act. Her story time events are all about teaching children and their families the importance of being who you want to be and loving who you are.
“It’s really important for kids to hear diverse stories,” Mama G told Newsweek. “I was born in the 1980s. My entire school career was during the existence of Section 28.”
Established by the UK’s Conservative government, Section 28 was a series of laws that prohibited the “promotion of homosexuality” via published materials or through teaching in schools. Reading up on it, it’s not entirely dissimilar to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill signed into Florida law by Governor Ron DeSantis last year.