"This would have never happened" when Ryan Young — stage name China White — was growing up, Young reflected on Saturday.
"This" was the first-ever Drag Queen Storytime for children at Saskatoon's Frances Morrison Library.
The special event, part of the 25th Saskatoon Pride Festival, starred White alongside a Queen Elizabeth lookalike and Puffy von Pop-n-Fresh.
"I know a lot of other drag queens have done it in a lot of other cities and it's been a huge hit," said Young as children and parents streamed into Pooh's Corner at the library.
So many people showed up, in fact, that the event had to be moved to a downstairs meeting room.
Ricardo Alvarado as Puffy von Pop-n-Fresh started things off with a reading of You Don't Want a Unicorn.
"This is hard with the rings and the nails," said von Pop-n-Fresh, flipping pages.
Rob MacDonald, er, The Queen, came next.[Full disclosure: This reporter first asked if The Queen was dressed as Dana Carvey's Church Lady from Saturday Night Live. This was met with a justifiably withering stare.]
"I just want all of you children to know that this lovely life experience that you'll have today goes towards your first year at university. It's a credit," The Queen said to her rapt audience.
'Do as you please' says The Queen
Early into The Queen's reading of 1,000 Dresses, a young child in the crowd said he had worn a dress.
"You should do as you please. Do as you please," said The Queen.
Dressed as a southern belle — "I thought since we were doing something sort of fun and festive I'd come out as a princess," he said — Young read from both Where the Wild Things Are and Mortimer.
But he also mentioned another literacy source that gave him comfort growing up: the Dr. Seuss stories, in which something was always "different or quirky."
"By the end of them, you always learned the lesson that it didn't matter. The difference didn't matter," he said.
"Some of these kids could be LGBTQ youth so the fact that we can maybe give them a little boost up, make them feel okay about things, and loved and accepted, I think that's a pretty positive way of doing Pride."