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Matthew’s Place

No, Drag isn’t Bad for Kids

by Judy Bokao

Image Credit: Allison Joyce/AFP/Getty Images

Drag culture has exploded in recent years, with Queens now reigning not only over nightclubs, but city streets, suburbs, and across America as icons of LGBTQ+ pride and self-expression. After amassing a following beyond the community and our allies, Republican legislators in Florida, Arizona, Texas, and other states now want to quiet Queens and tell them who and where they can be.

Bryan Slaton, a State Rep. in Texas, claims a new law is necessary to protect children from the Queens he deems “perverted adults.” This statement came after a video went viral of children attending the “Drag the Kids to Pride Drag Show” in Texas. In the video, the children could be seen watching drag performers dance and tipping them with cash.

The Texas Republican released a response saying, “The events of this past weekend were horrifying and show a disturbing trend in which perverted adults are obsessed with sexualizing young children.’’ He went further to state, “Protecting our own children isn’t enough and our responsibility as lawmakers extends to the sexualization that is happening across Texas.”

Other Republican lawmakers weighed in on the matter and announced they will be filing legislation to ban kids from drag shows in their states as well. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he is considering ordering his state’s child protective services department to investigate parents who take their children to such performances. In his news conference, he said that taking kids to drag shows should be considered child endangerment. DeSantis, who is a prospective Presidential Republican candidate, said if he were the President, he would consider signing the law.

State Rep. Anthony Sabatini from Florida proposed the termination of parental rights of adults and charging parents with felonies if they take their kids to drag shows. According to Sabatini, drag shows are perverted sex shows and taking kids to these shows is sexualization. He took to Twitter to ask, “When will the sexualization of children stop?”

Following these recent statements, executive director of Equality Florida, Nadine Smith, took to Twitter to condemn the introduction of any bill aimed at banning kids from drag shows. “It has never been about respecting parents,” she said. “It’s always been about dehumanizing LGBTQ children and adults to appeal to the ignorance & fear of his extremist base as [DeSantis] prepares to run for President. He doesn’t care if he imprisons parents or harms children.”

Arizona State Sen. Vince Leach also spoke on the issue, saying he has been receiving complaints from parents about drag shows and he is drafting legislation to handle the situation. In his phone call to NPR , he said, “These performers are, in my view, disgusting. We don’t allow kids into strip joints; we don’t allow them into X-rated movies … so it’s foreign to me why we allow this to go on.”

In his recent appearance at the James Corden late night show, RuPaul, arguably the most famous drag queen in the world, responded to the proposal to ban minors from attending drag shows. The drag royalty didn’t shy away from the question posed by Corden. RuPaul called the whole situation a successful diversion tactic to take the narrative away from the gun debate. “They have changed the narrative away from the gun debate into this drag queen thing. It’s like y’all want to help your kids? Take away them guns, that will help your kids. Drag queens ain’t hurting nobody!”

It is sad that these homophobic attacks directed at the LGBTQ community and their allies are going on during Pride Month. This is the one month specifically set aside to celebrate being queer and proud and tell our history. Instead of celebrating, we are dodging bullets, anti-LGBTQ+ riots, legal attacks, and other forms of threats. Nevertheless, we still fly our Pride flags and continue to advocate for our rights. It has been a hectic Pride Month but still, we march on proud.

About the Author:

Judy Bokao is 20 years old and was born in Ethiopia but relocated to Nairobi two years ago. She is passionate about everyone having equal rights and is also big on conservation and speaking up for our planet. Judy loves reading and photography and is just a free-spirited young lady trying to grow into a woman her mom can be proud of.

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