Miss/Mr. Zae and I started Reading Time with the Queens back in 2017 as part of our reign in the now defunct Southeast Idaho Gay Pride pageant. I held the Youth title and Miss Zae held the Miss title. We both agreed that part of being a title holder was giving back to our community and brainstormed Reading Time as a way to do that! Drag Story Hour had come up with the national program format - our goal was to make the allure of "drag artists reading to kids" work for our smaller community.
We performed at Marshall Public Library in Pocatello all that summer, and Zae led a final program in September 2017 after I relocated to Corvallis, Oregon. After performing a version of the program throughout 2018 at a local bookstore, I moved back to Pocatello. I was consistently asked if I'd restart the program, and in June of 2019, we got a booth at Pocatello Pride and announced our intention to perform monthly programs at the library of our origin.
In February of 2020, our program got a lot of attention...from people that didn't like we were around. Instead of running into the shadows, our newly forming board of directors trudged forward. While dissent was present, support for Reading Time was double that! We had so many people at our Monsters in Love program, we had to do it twice to fit as many people into the room as possible!
Of course, in March of 2020, all of the support moved online-only due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Thankfully, we used the opportunity to brush up on our video creation skills to continue the program online. As of February 2022, we're performing once again in Idaho Falls and Pocatello on a monthly basis. I'm so honored to be leading this program! I plan to ensure this non-profit remains a local institution regardless of my involvement, and with your continued support, I know it can be done.