Tompkins County Public Library in Ithaca, New York, hosted a 4 week "Drag Teen" class series for children ages 11 to 18 to "learn the art of drag" last June, as part of Downtown Ithaca’s Pride festival.
"Learn the art of drag from a local drag queen in this four week class series! Participants will learn about costuming, makeup, lip synching, stage presence, and more" the website description reads. Students aged 11 to 18 were advised to attend all classes in the series, "as each week will address a different aspect of performing drag."
The website advertised a "youth drag show," where students were invited to perform in Downtown Ithaca’s Pride Festival. The youth drag show was hosted by Vivian Darling, who describes themselves as "the Fat Bitch of Drag."
Children were invited to dance on stage, or as one observer called it, "simulated stripping," while audience members handed them dollar bills. A user on Twitter shared a video from the event.
Other events featured on the Downtown Ithaca Pride Festival website include a Planned Parenthood booth and a “Parenting in Transition Book Club" to "discuss experiences of gender transition and parenthood." Downtown Ithaca also featured a workshop for "Transgender & Nonbinary Youth" to discuss a book called Teaching Transgender Toolkit by Luca Maurer.
2022 has seen an explosion of Drag-themed events for minors, including instances where children are exposed to nearly nude Drag performers in bars, nightclubs and other events for Pride, and the increasingly popular "Drag Queen Story hours."
Libby Emmons of The Post Millennial reported on a recently uncovered article from 2021 called "Drag pedagogy: The playful practice of queer imagination in early childhood."
"The goal of bringing drag performers into classrooms, normalizing adult sexual play and adult entertainment as part of early childhood education, is to instill a value system based on 'queerness,'" said Emmons. "After educators fought for years to remove a value system based in moral foundations and national pride, they are now intentionally replacing it with a value system steeped in adult sexual mores, hedonism, sexual deviance."
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