GLAAD President says concerned parents are 'dragphobic' for wanting to protect kids from drag shows

"Why dragphobia? 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?"

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY

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?"

This irrational fear of drag queens was used to condemn conservatives, GOP lawmakers, and parents who oppose sexually explicit content or performances being presented to children and teens. Instead of hearing concerns that drag is not a children's medium, that kids don't need to see grown men in a clown costume of femininity, emulating stereotypes, complete with sexually explicit stage names, GLAAD and NPR direct listeners to understand that not wanting kids exposed to drag is actually a means to "target" and "attack" the LGBTQ community.

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." 

This is the same "marginalized" community that has the ear of the President of the United States, has dozens of designated holidays throughout the year— from Pride Month to Coming Out Day to Trans Day of Remembrance, all of which are celebrated in government-funded public schools, whose representatives are routinely invited to White House events to tell the President and his administration about their experience, and whose community colors painted the White House in light, broadcasting a message of deference to the LGBTQ community across the world.

Despite claiming that these drag shows for kids are wholesome and innocent, Ellis goes on to say that "drag shows represent not only fun and happiness and excitement, but they are political too, because they are, you know, it is when we take gender and turn it on its head."

And this, Ellis believes, is something conservatives, who believe in the reality of biological sex, who oppose gender identity and sex changes for kids, should just swallow. 

There is a reason Ellis and her ilk use terminology like dragphobia or transphobia, and it is to discredit those who have issues with the indoctrination of American kids into gender identity and the ushering of children and teens into adult sexual lifestyles. 

"I think that that is very frightening to folks in these extremist groups and these white supremacists," Ellis says, automatically and intentionally linking those who oppose drag shows for kids with racists, despite there being absolutely no indication that the views are connected. 

"So they've really focused in on drag events," she said. "And these drag events also have always been a place to gather family friends, and I think that now they're coming and they're saying, you know, they're using all of these grotesque terms of groomer… and saying that we're threatening children."

The term "groomer" is one that LGBTQ activists have latched onto and determined is a slur against their community. The term made its reappearance in the public sphere after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education bill, prohibiting schools from keeping a student's gender identity secret from their parents or teaching non-age appropriate sex-ed. Immediately, the White House and other activists called it the "Don't Say Gay Bill," which was a complete misconstruing of the bill, used to claim that the bill was anti-LGTQ. In response, Florida's press secretary Christina Pushaw blasted back that the bill actually an anti-groomer bill.

It was shortly thereafter that by common consensus LGBTQ activists determined that when someone was calling out "groomers," it was a slur against LGBTQ people. This is despite decades of advocacy by gay rights activists to distance the gay community from the unfair idea that they have any interest in children. Now, LGBTQ activists are claiming the word is a slur against them, as though when someone calls out a "groomer" they are calling out an LGBTQ person. 

Media Matters dug into the term and determined that it is an anti-LGBTQ "slur," claiming that "retweets of right-wing figures’ tweets that included the anti-LGBTQ 'groomer' slur increased substantially, as did mentions of right-wing figures in tweets containing the slur." Others, like California Congressman Adam Schiff, have claimed that "hate speech" has increased on Twitter, but that metric is only accurate if the term "groomer" is classified as hate speech. 

It behooves the movement to sexualize kids to declare that anyone who opposes them is simply a bigot, easily dismissible, and crazed with hate, but it is not even a little bit true. If they can successfully paint opposition to child sex changes and drag shows for kids as hate, they will silence the conversation, they will stifle debate, and our children will pay the price. Drag shows are not innocent content for kids.


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