Yale Law School on February 28 hosted a drag queen for a dramatic reading of Ibram X. Kendi, the Yale Daily News reported on Thursday, marking the first drag queen story hour at the law school in its 199-year history.
Robin Fierce, a former contestant on the reality TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race, read three children’s books out loud to dozens of Yale Law students—including Kendi's Antiracist Baby, a New York Times bestseller that "empowers parents and children to uproot racism."
"Babies are taught to be racist or anti racist," one passage in the book reads. "There’s no neutrality." Other passages tell children to "confess" their racism and "knock down the stack of cultural blocks."
Fierce—who also performed a dance routine for attendees—got a considerably warmer welcome than some other guests at the law school. When Kristen Waggoner, a conservative religious liberty lawyer, came to Yale Law last year, student protesters caused so much commotion that police had to escort her out of the building.
There were no such fireworks at Fierce’s talk, which was framed by organizers as a response to "problematic" guests.
"Many of the queer students at the law school do not feel safe there or want to spend any extra time in that building," A.J. Hudson, a third-year law student who hosted the event, told the Yale Daily News. "To pay a drag queen to come speak—a directly system-impacted person whose expertise is just as valuable as a heterosexual cisgender white man, lawyer or judge, it’s historic."
Though Yale Law has never hosted a drag queen before, other schools at the university have. In October 2021, Yale Divinity School’s LGBT student group, "DivOut," sponsored a drag show called "Divinity of Drag." Drag queens have also made appearances at the university’s drama, business, and forestry schools, according to the Yale Daily News.
After story time concluded, Fierce fielded questions from the audience about the politics of drag. One student asked "what gives you hope" in light of Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R.) purging diversity, equity, and inclusion officers from state universities. Fierce answered that "handing children the power to imagine" was the "light" that keeps her motivated, the Yale Daily News reported.
Yale Law School isn’t the only prestigious institution to host a drag queen. When President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act in December, he invited Marti Cummings, a "non-binary" drag queen who hosts events with toddlers, to the White House for the signing ceremony.