Montana has become the first state in the union to ban drag queen story hour from public schools and libraries. The decision follows a series of heated debates over whether or not drag queen story hour is appropriate for children.
The controversy began in September of 2022, when a Montana bookstore hosted a drag queen story hour for children. This sparked an outcry from conservative groups who argued that it was inappropriate for children to be exposed to such content. Retired police officer and army veteran Jim Thomas drove to downtown Helena, Montana, the state's capital, to protest the event.
In April of 2023, Montana congressmen submitted an angry letter to the Pentagon regarding a “Drag Story Hour” for children held at Malmstrom Air Force Base. They argued that it was inappropriate for taxpayer dollars to be used for such events.
Despite protests from conservative groups, hundreds attended the Drag Queen Story Hour at ZooMontana in Billings in May of 2023. Protestors gathered outside of ZooMontana ahead of the event, but were unable to stop it from taking place.
The controversy reached its peak on Saturday when Montana Book Co. hosted a drag queen story hour as part of their pride event in Helena despite threats made against it on social media by conservative groups. Following this event, the state legislature voted overwhelmingly in favor of banning drag queen story hours from public schools and libraries across Montana.