DES MOINES, Iowa — A bill introduced in Iowa this year would have banned minors from attending drag performances. Instead, dozens of children watched two drag performers read books Sunday afternoon.

Drag queens Robin Graves and Vana B attracted a standing-room-only crowd to the Des Moines Central Library. The performers read three books written for young children: Introducing Teddy, And Tango Makes Three, and Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress.

“I wish when I was this age, that those books were around for me,” Vana B said. “Even as an adult, they’re still very inspiring. I can’t imagine how it would feel to have had that as a child.”

Some children at the story time, such as 12-year-old Annie White of Johnston, already see themselves as allies of the LGBTQ+ community.

“My cousin got married when I was six years old; they’re a gay couple and I got to go to their wedding,” White said. “I knew from a very young age what this was, and that it’s a good thing.”

White and the performers believe lawmakers and opponents of drag should try to accept the community since it is not going anywhere.

“I really hope that people turn the passion and focus that they feel against drag queens towards something that’s actually affecting kids,” Robin Graves said. “It’s not drag, I’m sorry.”

“This is the world that we’re living in, so why not embrace it?” White said. “We’re just showing our support that this is who you’re meant to be. Be who you want to be, and don’t shy away from that.”

The story time did not use any public money in its production.