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Butte Pride Foundation hosts Drag Queen Story Hour for Pride Month

Butte’s official Pride celebration is set for July 6
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Drag Queen Story Hour in Butte
Posted at 9:08 AM, Jun 11, 2024

BUTTE — It’s been more than a year since Butte-Silver Bow canceled a transgender author who was set to speak at the Butte-Silver Bow Public Library.

In an email to the library staff, Butte's Chief Executive said the county was acting out of an abundance of caution over concerns that it violates House Bill 359. But as part of the Mining City's celebration of Pride Month, the Butte Pride Foundation is bringing Drag Queen Story Hour to Butte.

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"You can see how these drag bans are affecting trans people, how they are affecting people who are not doing drag. Anybody who does not present in a stereotypically masculine or feminine way is affected by these bills," says Alotta Shadow, a countess with Imperial Sovereign Court of the State Of Montana.

"You can see how these drag bans are affecting trans people, how they are affecting people who are not doing drag. Anybody who does not present in a stereotypically masculine or feminine way is affected by these bills," says Alotta Shadow, a countess with Imperial Sovereign Court of the State Of Montana.

In May 2023, Gov. Greg Gianforte signed House Bill 359 into law banning drag performances at publicly funded schools and libraries. A month later a Native American transgender woman and journalist was banned from speaking about her book at the Butte library. Adria Jawort and about a dozen other individuals, businesses and LGBTQ+ groups challenged the law in court.

"It definitely is an infringement on the First Amendment rights that we have as US citizens. The idea that our speech is to be controlled and limited ... it’s difficult to have that, like, boundary set in place for you," said Alotta Shadow.

In late October of 2023, a federal judge blocked Montana officials from enforcing the ban. So now the show must go on and Alotta and friends have been sitting down in semi-circles with kids to read books about individuality, colors, and family structures.

"I came here tonight because I like the stories and I like when people dress up. She looks like a princess from one of my TV shows..."
Margo Nicholls

Free from the ban on drag, Butte Pride Foundation decided to host Drag Queen Story Hour with Alotta. She says it took her three hours to paint her face, squeeze into shapewear, and put on a wig and gown.

"My thing as Alotta is allowing people to be themselves. My goal is not to change who people are but to allow them to figure out who they are," said Alotta.

And the Butte Pride Foundation echos that sentiment.

"A drag queen is someone who essentially is a superstar, right? Like, loves to dress up and entertain and put on a performance, make people happy, smile... And it’s a beautiful way to bring fun and creativity into reading," says Cheyenne Crooker, the President of Butte Pride Foundation.

In the Drag Queen Story Hour audience on June 8th, seven-year-old Margo Nicholls sits with her family and takes in four stories that Allotta reads out loud.

"I came here tonight because I like the stories and I like when people dress up. She looks like a princess from one of my TV shows," says Margo Nicholls.

The final court ruling on House Bill 359 is paused by a preliminary injunction but Alotta says it's possible that it may move to a higher court but she says she will never stop advocating for self-expression.

"They can say anything they want, you know. But, at the end of the day, I’m basically a Disney Princess you know, like, if you go to Disney Land or Disney World, they paint their face, they put on a wig, they put on some padding. They put on a fabulous gown and they get to interact with people with no problem."

Butte’s official Pride celebration is set for July 6th at the Original Headframe and includes a Drag Story Hour with Alotta Shadow.

To find out more about the upcoming event you can visit Butte Pride Foundation's website .