A DRAG act set to host a children's storytime event, says it's about promoting acceptance.

Southend LGBT+ Pride and Southend Council’s LGBT forum, Outreach, are hosting a story time with a twist at The Forum, Elmer Avenue, Southend, on Friday, May 31.

The event takes place in the children’s library at The Forum between 11.30am and 12.30pm.

It will be full of songs, stories and creativity for primary school-aged children aged between five and 11-years-old and their families.

They will re-enact some of their favourite bed-time stories with dress-up and games.

It will be hosted by drag stars Joey Bambino and Saffron Slayter,

Organisers say the event will celebrate difference in a fun, safe, educational and age-appropriate environment.

Lewis Carlile, 27, from Southend who performs as drag king alter ego Joey Bambino, said: “This is about making kids know it’s okay to be different.

“It’s about being inclusive for kids and getting them involved in our pride celebrations.

“Drag as an act is about an extension of gender and making it more fluid.

“I have been performing drag for about two years now and have been very fortunate.

“I identify as a transgender man, but generally a drag king is a female impersonating a man.

“I am aware that some people do not agree with LGBT issues.

“They do not understand what the members of the community go through.

“We have all faced hardship and so many others battle mental health, I know I am not afraid of admitting this.

“It is about supporting those children who have LBGT families, the kids with two mums or two dads.

“We want to make sure those and all other children can also enjoy Southend Pride celebrations.

“It is not about pushing anything onto children and I’ve worked hard to ensure it is not sexualised for children.”

The artist said he is knows some people connect LGBT people with sexualisation of children and that is wrong, but this is not about that.

The drag king artist said the biggest message is one of acceptance.

He said: “It is no different to a princess character appearing at an event.

“It’s just another way to express ourself.

“Any backlash makes me sad.

“We were planning a drag story time for the Southend Pride event but it’s great to have the support of Southend Council.”

Sam Adams, co-chair of Southend Pride, said: “We’re delighted to be able to bring Joey and Saffron to the Forum to host this fun-filled event for all the family.”

Members of the public have also been having their say after the event was announced.

Faye Louise, told the Echo’s Facebook page: “This sounds like great fun

“I think it’s a shame it’s for children over five-years-old.

“I’d bring my two-year-old.”

Fuhad Faruq added: “Men in drag used to be a laugh to watch in comedy shows.

“Why are people getting so upset if Mrs Doubtfire makes an appearance.

“As long as it’s not sexualised then who cares.” For more information, visit southendpride.org.uk