Reading with Love: A Virtual Drag Read Aloud of Children’s Banned Books

As anti-LGBTQ+ legislation sweeps the nation, our schools, libraries, and other story-telling spaces are being attacked on the basis of “protecting the children.” Countless books have been banned as a result, attempting to block—and thereby, extinguish—any mention of LGBTQ+ experiences and identities.

But these books go beyond LGBTQ+ narratives—they’re glowing messages of love, role models for living life as your best, most authentic self.

In what world should these messages be censored?

We’re proud to share these messages of love through the voices of our most vivacious, glamorous, and fearless community members: drag artists. PFLAG NYC Executive Director, Melissa D’Andrea, and NYC drag artists Coco Sho-Nell, Emi Grate, Mister Max, and Nancy Nogood join us for a fun and family-friendly read aloud of banned LGBTQ+ children’s books.

Watch the broadcast now on PFLAG NYC’s YouTube Channel and be sure to subscribe to the PFLAG NYC YouTube channel for more informative and important resources for friends, family, and loved ones of the LGBTQ+ community.


COCO SHO-NELL (she/her)
Coco Sho-Nell was born in a small town outside of Gary, Indiana…. And that town was called Chicago! She began working the mean streets of Jeffrey Manor before she decided to pack her bags and move out of the hood to the other side of the tracks. There she met the Lovely Ashley Morgan and HERstory was made. For eight years, she was a resident choreographer and regular cast member, performing every third Saturday of the month at the Call Bar. There, Coco was part of the Charity Drag show, “Ashley Morgan Presents…” You can now find Coco periodically in her own drag/cabaret variety show “Coco Sho-Nell Presents…” around Chicago.

EMI GRATE (she/her)
Emi Grate (she/her) is one of the most prolific and most instantly-recognizable drag artists in Brooklyn, NY. Born and raised in Mandalay, Burma, she is now an LGBT asylee in the US. Throughout her career, she has consistently championed diverse representation, community building, and avant-garde experimentation in drag. She has been featured in Bushwig, Oaklash, Sasha Velour’s “Nightgowns”, and RevryTV’s Season 4 of “Queens of Kings”. Her best-known creation, “A+ the Pan-Asian Drag Revue”, was featured at Brooklyn Museum for Asian Pacific-Islander Heritage Month.

MISTER MAX (he/him)
Mister Max is an award-winning Drag King and YouTuber based in NYC. He has been seen on, Vox, NowThis, and more.

NANCY NOGOOD (she/her)
Nancy Nogood is a drag queen who is proud to be exactly who she is. Her favorite thing is telling kids that being yourself is the coolest thing you can be! She performs all over the country, was once called “Glamorous!” by the New York Times, and currently lives in Coney Island, with a roller coaster in her backyard.


One of the most banned picture books right now, this true story traces the origins of the Gay Pride flag from its beginnings in 1978 with activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker.

A heartwarming and inspiring book about being true to yourself and moving beyond the gender binary.

IN OUR MOTHERS’ HOUSE by Patricia Polacco
Marmee, Meema, and the kids are just like any other family on the block…but some of the other families don’t accept them. How can a family have two moms and no dad? But Marmee and Meema’s house is full of love. They teach their children that different doesn’t mean wrong, and that no matter how many moms or dads they have, they are everything a family is meant to be.

WHEN AIDEN BECAME A BROTHER by Kyle Lukoff and Kaylani Juanita
When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl until he settled into life as a boy. So when his parents announce that they’re going to have a baby, Aidan wants to make sure everything is right for his younger sibling.

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