Originally published July, 2019.
There’s a worrying topic that has been promoted by our national broadcaster, the CBC.
On May 1st, the CBC released a trailer for the full-length documentary, Drag Kids. The Documentary, as the name clearly suggests, follows the stories of several different children who participate in the “art form of drag.”
Since then, the CBC has continued to promote the doc, posting exclusive content to their CBC Kids News site.
In the write-up for video, the CBC explains to the viewer that “as an art form, drag has always been about breaking down barriers, exploring new territory and daring to do the unexpected.”
Some roads are best left untravelled. CBC has decided not just to walk down this path, but indeed to trailblaze as it attempts to spearhead the normalization of drag kids into popular culture.
“A new type of queen is emerging on the scene: she’s fierce, she’s living in a time of unprecedented access to queer culture and she’s younger than ever before,” writes the CBC, framing the video as if it isn’t something totally insane.
The concerns surrounding drag queens are obvious. Drag, as an art form, has always had very sexual elements in it. Having attended a number of drag shows myself, I have never attended any performance by any queen that has not peppered in obvious sexual innuendo, puns, or dance moves.
But those involved in the art form believe they are doing what’s right for their children, allowing them to express themselves.
One parent in the documentary trailer attempts to clear the record by saying that as parents, they aren’t “child abusers” and they aren’t sexualizing their kids.
“It’s about expression, You are the art, and it’s extreme. Look at the Sistene Chapel. If that isn’t extreme, what is?” says one mother, totally straight-faced.
Putting children in harm’s way
The issue is that it’s not up to the kids as to whether or not they’re being sexual. Some “art forms” have sexuality ingrained in them by nature. And if that isn’t obvious, ask British pedophile rights campaigner, Tom O’Carroll.
In a WordPress blog post, O’Carroll releases some horrid opinions, and in turn, manifests what those against drag kids have most feared. That these children were being looked at sexually by dangerous people.
“Let’s face it, when a pretty young boy tells the world he is gay and dances sensuously in front of grown men, wearing vampish dresses and makeup; when ‘she’ strips off items of clothing or goes on stage scantily clad right from the off; when dollar bills are accepted as ‘tips’ from an audience apparently wild with excitement; when all this is going on we are getting far more than just a celebration of gender diversity or an innocent display of precocious performance talent,” wrote O’Carroll.
O’Carroll goes on to say that “being a drag queen, or a drag princess if you will, puts it right out there, in the open for all to see. It says, loud and proud, ‘I am a sexy kid, with sexy feelings. It’s totally cool for grown-ups to get turned on by me. I love it. That’s why I do this stuff. It’s great. It’s fun. It’s me!’”
Exploitation is difficult to avoid
What’s perhaps most disheartening is that the children are the least to blame for their behaviour. Performing in clubs and bars, appearing on different TV or web shows, it can quickly become difficult to not be in harm’s way.
Just ask the drag kid who appeared on an LGBT YouTube show, Peeew! With Michael Alig and Ernie Glam. The 10-year-old drag kid appears on the show, probably unaware that he’s sitting next to Alig, who was convicted after pleading guilty to the first-degree manslaughter of a member of Club Kids, a New York City culture group which Alig was the ringleader of.
To top it all off, the show is hosted in front of a painting which says the word “rohypnol” on it. For those unaware, rohypnol is a tranquillizer about ten times more potent than Valium. It is frequently used as a date rape drug that is “illegal to manufacture, sell, use or be in possession of” in the U.S. and Canada.
Why does the CBC insist on pushing this content?
With the full-length documentary set to be released towards the end of July, this doesn’t appear to be the last time we’ll be hearing about child Drag Queens.
The world of drag is unequivocally linked to sexuality. Drag, as an art form, is a parody of sexuality. Do children really have the ability to grasp the complexities of human sexuality in the first place? Or is this more a game of dress-up for them, akin to Halloween?
In the same way that Halloween allows us to laugh in the face of death and fear, drag allows us to spoof just how odd and embarrassing sexuality really is. That’s what makes separating sexuality from drag impossible, and that is precisely why kids should not participate in it.