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Americans do not have an irrational fear of drag queens, yet GLAAD had announced that the root of the concerns over the preponderance of drag events geared toward kids and families is a result of fear. This assertion was made on NPR podcast The Takeaway, in which a drag queen and GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis were interviewed by Melissa Harris Perry in the context of what they termed rising “dragphobia” across the US.
“Why dragphobia?” Perry asked, “Why in this moment? You started to give us this kind of legislative context, the baseless attacks on LGBTQ adults and particularly on young people. What political motivation is served in this kind of stoking of fear?”
GLAAD notably does not prop up sexually explicit female performers as socially acceptable entertainment for kids, such as strippers, burlesque performers, or exotic dancers, instead saying that it is the men in woman face that are sacred examples of the LGBTQ community who must be praised, supported, and allowed to dance for kids.
We know from academic literature on the subject that embedding drag performance and sensibilities into American classrooms is part of the intentional “queering” of education. The founders of Drag Queen Story Hour speak about the importance of “positioning queer and trans cultural forms as valuable components of early childhood education.” We know that drag pedagogy is part of a program to break down children’s barriers and to open them to accepting gender identity as fact, while diminishing their understanding of biological sex.
Drag performances in schools and libraries focus on gender identity. The books that are typically read at Drag Queen Story Hour focus on stories of “trans kids,” boys who want to wear dresses and girls who always knew they were different, who don’t relate to feminine stereotypes. If the drag shows for kids were ideologically innocent, then why is their entire focus on gender identity?
Replying to Perry, Ellis said, “extremists on the right wing have found a way to continue to target our community and really have been able to amp up that targeting using right-wing media and social media.”
She claimed that this is a means to engender fear, and that is “creates hostility and hatred against our community.” To her, concerns expressed over the indoctrination of children into gender identity ideology, including the idea that a baby could be born in the wrong body, is the intentional targeting of “a very marginalized community, the LGBTQ community.”
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