In an open letter to the Tate’s board of trustees, a controversial politician in the United Kingdom denounced Tate Britain’s decision to invite a drag queen to perform to a children’s group next month.
Conservative party life peer Emma Nicholson described the planned February 11 appearance by Aida H Dee, the self-proclaimed “Storytime Drag Queen” and alias of Sab Samuel, as both “propaganda” and “nonsense on stilts.”
In honor of LGBTQ history month in the U.K., Dee was set to perform as a member of Drag Queen Story Hour UK, a group that organizes reading sessions by drag queens for children aged between three and 11 years old.
Tate describes Dee on its website as an “ADHD, neurodivergent, queer hero of literature” and “the first drag artist in Europe to read stories to children in a nursery.”
In her letter, however, Nicholson paints a different picture, equating drag queens with “murderers, paedophiles, terrorists, furries and other fetishists.”
She signed the letter as chair of the parliamentary lobbying group Children and Women First, which advocates for children and women with a focus on gender and trans issues.
The letter comes just as a petition, written by the group Art Not Propaganda and signed by more than 3,500 people, began circulating. The petition demands Tate stop imposing “gender ideology” on children and claims that, as a state-funded institution, Tate is accountable to the public. A similar petition was launched on Change.org, but was cited as discriminatory and removed by the website the same day.
This is not the first time Dee has faced backlash. A recent tour of 70 U.K. libraries by Dee last summer drew heckling from anti-LGBTQ protestors who accused the performer of “grooming” children.
In an interview with PinkNews, Dee blamed the Tory government for the “queer hate that’s running rampant in the UK.”
Nicholson also came under scrutiny for mocking and misgendering trans model and activist Munroe Bergdorf, who she accused of soliciting teenagers, in 2020.
“We do not programme artists in order to promote particular points of view, nor to reconcile differing points of view,” a Tate spokesperson said in a statement. “Our galleries offer a broad programme and visitors have the freedom to choose which aspects of it they engage with.”