On Saturday, an Indian man living in Chicago who moonlights as a “stunt queen” named Abhijeet completed the third of his four scheduled “Drag Queen Story Hour” (DQSH) events hosted for children by the Chicago Public Library (CPL) system during June (also known as “Pride Month” by corporate America and the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) community).
Unfortunately for Abhijeet, who immigrated to the United States as a student in 2012, no children showed up that day to see a man dressed as a woman read to them at CPL’s Hall branch, a library that opened in 1932 and was designated a “literary landmark” in 2000 by Friends of Libraries USA and the Illinois Center for the Book.
For Abhijeet, who also goes by “Slumbitch Millionaire” and, according to his public Twitter account, is into “piss play” but not into “all cis white leather gang bangs,” the absence of an audience (which presumably would have comprised of “babies, toddlers, preschoolers and families,” as indicated by CPL’s listing for the event) meant a missed opportunity at gaining new converts to his political ideology.
“To me, drag is inherently a political act,” Abhijeet told Aliya Bhatia, then the managing director at Columbia Journal of International Affairs, in 2018. “It’s a space of defiance… It’s important to remember that drag is and will always be political, it’s the nature of it.”
Based on his tweets from just the past week, by “political act,” Abhijeet (which translates to “Conqueror” in Sanskrit) likely means “actively and AGGRESSIVELY” tearing down “systems of power like straight people.”
By performing in full drag for babies, toddlers and preschoolers at libraries funded with public tax dollars.
“I love discriminating against straight people and white people,” Abhijeet tweeted on June 3, two days after wearing makeup and a dress to read to children at the Albany Park branch of CPL, and three days before his appearance at the Bezazian branch. “I’m really enjoying myself,” he continued.
When not openly declaring his enthusiasm for discriminating against people based on their race and sexual identity, the entirety of content on Abhijeet’s Twitter and Instagram accounts range from an endless stream of sexually suggestive photos, to frequent discharges of sexually explicit statements like whether he has or whether he has not been anally penetrated on a given day.
On May 31, the day before his first DQSH event of Pride Month, Abhijeet commented “that’s so cute” (accompanied by what is officially referred to as the “Pleading Face” emoji) on a video of a man in a sex-swing who is having another man’s fist inserted into his anus. Despite his admiration, Abhijeet claims to only have “beginner’s fists” himself.
In April, Abhijeet tweeted out a solicitation for nude photographs from anyone under the height of 5’6.
It is unclear what Abhijeet would have read if an audience of children had made themselves available to him at CPL’s Hall branch, but CPL’s official website features a list of books called “Kids LGBTQ Picks for Pride Month,” which includes titles like Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress and Julián is a Mermaid.
Chicago’s DQSH events embody just a local chapter of the national organization. According to their official website, “DQSH is just what is sounds like — drag queens reading stories to children” in a space which “captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood,” to encourage young minds to “imagine a world… where dress up is real.”
“Drag Queen Story Hour is a fun and important program that celebrates diversity in the way that children may dress and act,” says Judy Zuckerman, Director of Youth and Family Services, Brooklyn Library. “It encourages children to look beyond gender stereotypes and embrace unfettered exploration of self. Programs like DQSH encourage acceptance and help to prevent bullying, while providing an enjoyable literary experience.”
The non-profit, founded in 2016 by Michelle Tea, a tarot card reader who once-upon-a-time self-admittedly “smoked, drank and snorted anything she could get her hands on,” and RADAR Productions, a San Francisco-based incubator for queer and trans people of color (QTPOC), is supported by the American Library Association (ALA), which recently launched an initiative called #LibrariesRespond, designed to guide librarians through the public backlash that DQSH has been receiving at local libraries throughout the country.
“ALA, through its actions and those of its members, is instrumental in creating a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive society,” reads the #LibrariesRespond page of ALA’s website, which includes a “toolkit” of resources for “combatting marginalization and underrepresentation within the communities served by libraries through increased understanding of the effects of historical exclusion.”
It is likely a true statement — zero pinnochios — that hypersexualized men, who dress and act like women, and want to be around children to talk to them about how they’re a man whose entire life is centered around dressing and acting like a caricature of stripper, have been excluded from society for most of human history.
Abhijeet’s final DQSH reading will take place at CPL’s West Loop branch, on June 22 at 10:30am, with only 33 pre-registered seats still available at the time of this writing. According to the online event listing, all are welcome.
Happy Pride Month.