Nashua Public Library to Host “Drag Queen Teen Time”

Photo of drag performer "Monique Toosoon"

Read Union Leader story here. 

Warning: this post contains a graphic image that viewers might find offensive.

A “Drag Queen Teen Time” is coming to the Nashua Library on January 12, where a man with the sexually suggestive stage name “Monique Toosoon”, who performs adult-only shows with sexual themes dressed as a woman, will make a presentation to vulnerable teens. Your town or city library may be next! Will you speak up against it?
Silence serves only to normalize such events. Your thoughtful response will convey the message that you don’t want to pay for this with your taxes, while at the same time encouraging your neighbors who may fear they’re alone in their concerns.
 
The library director assured one Nashua resident that this is “not a drag show” but instead is “an opportunity for Teens to meet a drag performer in person and ask questions about their art, costuming, makeup, etc.  A program like this is an excellent way for anyone to get accurate, first-hand information about a current topic that gets a lot of coverage in the media.”
 
Read the rest of this post to learn why we’re not buying that explanation. Be advised that a graphic image is included that viewers might find offensive.

You have constructive options for meeting this challenge: You can contact library director Jennifer McCormack (jennifer.mccormack@nashualibrary.org) and Teen Librarian Ashlee Norwood (ashlee.norwood@nashualibrary.org). The library’s phone number is (603) 589-4600.  You can contact the library’s trustees. You can unite with concerned neighbors in peaceful, prayerful response.

A concerned Nashua resident (and taxpayer) shared with Cornerstone an email exchange she had with the library director about the event.

“I just discovered that Monique Toosoon will be holding a story time for teens at the Nashua library on January 12 and I am writing to object. I wanted to let you know about Monique’s pornographic performances which were watched by me and many other Nashua residents on YouTube before they were taken down because of the controversy around Monique’s scheduled performance at a “family friendly” show at the Pride festival this summer…. I saw pictures of the ‘family friendly’ drag show and, as we suspected, it was not something kids or teens should have been watching. This event should not be held at the library, especially for impressionable teens.”
This is the response from library director Jennifer McCormack, sent from her nashualibrary.org email account.
“The Drag Queen Teen Time that we have planned for January is not a drag show, it’s an opportunity for Teens to meet a drag performer in person and ask questions about their art, costuming, makeup, etc.  A program like this is an excellent way for anyone to get accurate, first-hand information about a current topic that gets a lot of coverage in the media.  Like any of our programs it is strictly voluntary and we expect that families will make decisions for their own children about whether they may attend.   Thank you for your feedback,  I know that this program will not be welcomed by everyone but I stand by it as an appropriate and timely program for our Teens.”
The concerned resident was right to speak out. As for what “Monique” might be able to advise regarding “art, costuming, makeup, etc.” in order to convey “accurate, first-hand information,” consider this other image of the same performer, from “Monique’s” Facebook page, advertising another one of this “drag queen’s” performances. As offensive as this image is, this is a candid look at what “Monique” does for adult entertainment.
drag queen image - viewer advisory
“Monique Toosoon” performance photo, from performer’s Facebook page

More from the concerned Nashua resident, again addressing the library director:

“I have been wondering if the library would also have a stripper into the library to talk to teens about costuming, makeup, etc.? Both strippers and drag show performers dress provocatively and have sexually explicit performances for adult audiences. I see no substantial difference between the two types of performers. If you won’t have a stripper talk to the teens, then why would you have a drag show performer talk to the teens?”

After seeing these emails, provided by the Nashua resident who initiated the correspondence, Cornerstone’s attorney, Christopher Jay, promptly filed a Right-to-Know request for records of communications between library employees and anyone involved in planning the “Drag Queen” program. What we learned confirms that “Drag Queen Teen Time” is only the tip of a spear.

From Ashlee Norwood, Teen Librarian, in an email sent from her nashualibrary.org email address to Robert Bouchard, the man whose stage name and persona is “Monique Toosoon:”

“We wanted to start small with the teens to see what the reaction would be because there are horror stories about libraries being protested, cops called in, and the whole bad shebang….  But this Facebook blow up has made my heart so happy that there are so many supporters!!!! We were already looking at a kid’s Drag Queen Storytime sometime in the Spring and this positive feedback has dang-near solidified that idea!”
Ms. Norwood’s reference to Facebook reflects posts about the library’s planned Drag Queen event. Another email from Ms. Norwood, sent from her nashualibrary.org email address to Mr. Bouchard/Ms. Toosoon:
“Hello Miss Monique! We are already getting some buzz for our program!  Sure some jerk posted against it, but there were lots of responses in support of you and us!!!!!!!  YAY!”
This is not an event that’s about costuming or acting. It’s not even about outreach to LGBT+ youth. This is about grooming minors and normalizing sexual behavior that – for now – is culturally still “adults-only.”   

If it’s “buzz” the library is after, there’s no one better equipped to create it than you, the taxpayer who is providing this venue and paying the employees who are facilitating it. Email the library director and teen librarian, calmly setting out your concerns. Remember that your email and their response are both covered under the state’s Right to Know law.
Share this news with like-minded friends. Let the library trustees know what you think about your publicly-funded venue playing host to a “Drag Queen Teen Time.” Even if you don’t live in Nashua, your own town library may be the next place such a program pops up. Be prepared.