I’m not a Republican bigot, so it’s difficult for me to grasp the fear of a bunch of kids watching a drag queen perform a cover of Patti LaBelle an' shit.
A viral video from the event shows children watching drag performers do their routines and, per custom, tipping with cash. Participants and supporters of the event say it’s a way to share joy and celebrate identity. However, thanks to the climate created by the Republican Party, which has targeted queer and trans people via legislation introduced in state legislators across the country in recent months, the event attracted a crowd of protesters who mirrored recent GOP talking points—branding the event as one seeking to “groom” and endanger children.
Following videos from inside the event showing children enjoying the shows with their parents, Republicans are calling for bans on drag shows for children.
“I would never take my children to a drag show and I know Speaker Dade Phelan and my Republican colleagues wouldn’t either,” Slaton said. “The events of this past weekend were horrifying and show a disturbing trend in which perverted adults are obsessed with sexualizing young children.”
He added, “Protecting our own children isn’t enough and our responsibility as lawmakers extends to the sexualization that is happening across Texas.”
Even after the global success of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the primitive and prejudiced have already surmised that one’s identity alone can make them indecent.
What is so sexual about some drag queen dressing up to lip synch and spin around to Beyoncé and Ariana Grande? Drag shows aren’t inherently sexual, and given the event was kid-themed, it’s basically karaoke with a lot more effort, costuming, and duct tape. But even after the global success of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the primitive and prejudiced have already surmised that one’s identity alone can make them indecent. In their eyes, it doesn’t matter what drag queens are doing around kids—them being around children at all is the problem.
Already, other Republicans have jumped on the drag show ban for kids bandwagon.
Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert said kids should be taken “to CHURCH, not drag bars.”
About Lauren Boebert: She is married to a man who, when he was 24, was arrested for exposing himself to two young women at a Colorado bowling alley. According to the New York Post, Jayson Boebert pled guilty to “public indecency and lewd exposure” after that incident and was sentenced to four days in jail with a subsequent two years on probation. Even better: Lauren Roberts, as she was then known, was present when the incident happened. She was 17.
Meanwhile, joining Boebert is Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and QAnon, who posted, “It should be illegal to take children into Drag Queen shows and strip clubs.”
She continues to be too stupid for words.
Florida State Rep. Anthony Sabatini tweeted that his state “MUST follow Texas’ lead & BAN this sick act — sex shows are no place for kids.”
Unfortunately, it looks like Sabatini might get his wish.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is itching for any and all opportunities to shake the stigma of being a Discount Donald Trump to become his political successor in the 2024 presidential election, said in an interview that he could get child protective services to investigate Florida parents who take their children to drag shows.
“We have child protective statutes on the books,” DeSantis said. “We have laws against child endangerment.”
He continued: “It used to be that kids would be off-limits. Used to be that everybody agreed with that. Now it just seems like there’s a concerted effort to be exposing kids more and more to things that are not age-appropriate.”
As DeSantis sees it, drag shows are “totally inappropriate.”
I have never been a huge fan of drag shows, but that’s only because they used to interrupt my dancing at the gay clubs of Houston back during the snap era, when all I wanted to do is bop and let the Long Island Iced Teas send me where I needed to go. Still, I do genuinely appreciate what drag queens do because as Texas native and American drag performer Alyssa Edwards wrote in response to these ban calls, “Drag is an artform and art is subjective.”
It’s obviously politics, but no matter how dumb this ban may sound, it is a dangerous signal of just how much further the GOP is willing to go going in its opposition to the LGBT+ community and its allies. Republicans want to deny trans people their rights to treatment and want to remove mentions of them them along with queer people from out of the public realm. They seek to malign the LGBTQ community as nothing more than a band of perverts out to “groom” and abuse children.
What they are doing draws a parallel to Russia’s “gay propaganda law” of 2013, which all but criminalized queerness. While those political dangers continue to loom, the imminent dangers can’t be understated.
On Saturday, police in Idaho arrested 31 people who, according to the Washington Post, reportedly had “face coverings, White-supremacist insignia, shields and an ‘operations plan’ to riot near an LGBTQ Pride event on Saturday afternoon.” Those arrested were affiliated with the group Patriot Front, which gained notoriety during the Charlottesville protests in 2017. These men with a history of stirring violence were packed in the back of UHaul – undoubtedly ready to bring harm to those in attendance.
They did this the same weekend as the sixth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.
White supremacists have been seeking to stoke violence in recent years on a number of topics related to race, reproductive rights, immigration, and with greater frequency, the LGBTQ community. Conservatives in government and media have been openly embracing White nationalist sentiments, so much of this is a culmination of what happens when a national party openly embraces hate groups and unabashed bigotry.
As stupid as banning kids from drag shows sounds, it’s indicative of a larger problem at hand.
Much as I want people to generously tip their drag queens, I hope anyone that cares about the community at all will do their part to help make us less of a sitting target.